The US government has for the first time opened up large areas off the Atlantic Coast for offshore wind farms.
The department of the interior said it was proposing to offer competitive lease sales on some 278,000 acres, or about 432 square miles, off the coasts of Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Virginia. The sale is expected to go ahead in the first half of 2013.The first off shore project is Cape Wind, which is the project that was opposed by the late Senator Ted Kennedy. Cape Wind will begin to start producing power at the end of 2015, after nearly 15 years of legal battles.
If any turbines do actually go up, they would constitute the first offshore wind projects in the US. Over the last few years vast wind farms, with hundreds of turbines, have been built across the country – although wind power still makes up only 3% of energy use. However, the wind industry is expected to slow down or even come to a halt at the end of the year, with the expiry of tax credits.
Officials said the lease sale announced on Friday represented a first step in opening up offshore areas. Other blocks identified include areas of North Carolina and New Jersey. There are also plans to eventually site wind farms on the Pacific Coast, in Oregon and Hawaii.We are now seeing the beginning of tangible evidence of our successful election. This is a win-win situation; for the environment, for jobs and for energy independence. Huzzah!