Prospects for offshore development keep shifting in the wind By Chris Madison

Late last week, the Massachusetts Historical Commission endorsed a request by two Indian tribes that Nantucket Sound, site of the proposed Cape Wind project, be considered for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

The tribes argue that the Sound includes the site of a sacred burial ground. The request now goes to the National Park Service, whose sister agency, the Minerals Management Service (both are part of the U.S. Interior Department) earlier this year released a favorable final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project.

But the Historical announcement was balanced by other more positive developments last week. Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass, Chair of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, called on the Interior Department to approve the Cape Wind project before the climate change negotiations in Copenhagen in December.

“Approving the Cape Wind project as the nation’s first commercial offshore wind farm project before the start of the U.N. conference would send a strong message to international negotiators about the United States’ commitment to developing sources of clean energy and reducing global warming pollution,” Rep. Markey said.

And earlier in the week, before the public announcement by the historical commission, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he expected a final decision on Cape Wind by the end of the year.

The Cape Wind project has been politically dicey for the Massachusetts delegation because of opposition from some Cape Cod residents, including the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

Finally, in another positive development, the governors of Maryland, Virginia and Delaware announced on November 10, that they had signed an agreement to cooperate on offshore wind issues, including facilitating transmission and promoting favorable federal policies.

Chris Madison – American Wind Energy Association