Then, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar issued a three-paragraph statement explaining that the time had come for a decision on the Cape Wind Farm project. Salazar summoned the stakeholders to Washington next week to come up with “common-sense agreement on actions that could be taken to minimize and mitigate Cape Wind’s potential impacts on historic and cultural resources.” He also said that, come March 1, even if there is no agreement, he would “be prepared to take the steps necessary to bring the permit process to conclusion.”
In other words, after nine years of deliberations, and despite this latest attempt by Cape Wind opponents to delay the project even further, a final decision could be just weeks away.
Denise Bode, AWEA’s CEO, commented, "We hope that a Record of Decision will be issued by the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service soon after these issues are resolved…It is essential to send a clear message that the U.S. is committed to making offshore wind a reality in order to attract manufacturing facilities and associated jobs to support the industry."
Cape Wind Associates is proposing to build a 130 wind turbines, 420 MW wind power project in Nantucket Sound. As the first offshore wind farm proposed in federal waters, the ultimate fate of Cape Wind, will set an example.
Secretary Salazar Initiates Final Review of Cape Wind Proposal
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today issued the following statement in response to the determination by the National Park Service’s Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places that Nantucket Sound is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The finding of eligibility ensures that significant archeological, historic, and cultural values are considered in the review of the permit for the proposed Cape Wind project by the Minerals Management Service (MMS).
“America’s vast offshore wind resources offer exciting potential for our clean energy economy and for our nation’s efforts to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Secretary Salazar. “But as we begin to develop these resources, we must ensure that we are doing so in the right way and in the right places. “The Keeper’s finding that Nantucket Sound is eligible for listing in the National Register provides information that will help us to undertake final consultations and analysis of potential impacts of wind development on historic and cultural resources in Nantucket Sound.
“After several years of review, it is now time to move the Cape Wind proposal to a final decision point. That is why I am gathering the principal parties together next week to review the findings of the Keeper and to discuss how we might find a common-sense agreement on actions that could be taken to minimize and mitigate Cape Wind’s potential impacts on historic and cultural resources. I am hopeful that an agreement among the parties can be reached by March 1. If an agreement among the parties can’t be reached, I will be prepared to take the steps necessary to bring the permit process to conclusion. The public, the parties, and the permit applicants deserve certainty and resolution.”
Cape Wind is proposing America’s first offshore wind farm on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound. Miles from the nearest shore, 130 wind turbines will gracefully harness the wind to produce up to 420 megawatts of clean, renewable energy. In average winds, Cape Wind will provide three quarters of the Cape and Islands electricity needs.
Our health and environment are negatively impacted by fossil fuel burning. The American Lung Association reports that Cape Cod has the worst air quality in Massachusetts. Cape Wind will contribute to improved air quality by reducing air pollution emissions in New England. Cape Wind will also reduce global warming greenhouse gas emissions by 734,000 tons per year. Global warming contributes to rising sea levels and more frequent storms that erode our beaches and cause coastal property damage. Global warming and climate change presents the greatest threat to birds and sea life and their habitat.
Since 1973, America has transferred over seven trillion dollars of its wealth to OPEC countries. Our dependence on foreign energy leaves our economy and national security at risk. By harnessing our local wind resources, we can contribute to reducing our dependence on imported energy. Cape Wind will provide clean, renewable energy capable of replacing 113 million gallons of oil per year.
Cape and Island’s electric prices have more than doubled over the last five years. The Massachusetts Energy Facility Siting Board reports that Cape Wind will help reduce energy costs. Cape Wind can provide Cape and Island residents a way to stabilize their electricity prices through fixed priced electricity contracts. Natural gas prices have more than doubled over the last five years. The United States Department of Energy stated that Cape Wind and renewable energy will also conserve natural gas and help lower rising natural gas costs.
Cape Wind will establish Cape Cod and Massachusetts as a world-wide leader in offshore renewable energy technology. Cape Wind will create up to a thousand jobs in manufacturing, assembly, and ocean construction, boosting our local economy and creating 150 permanent jobs thereafter, including 50 highly paid maintenance and operations jobs based on Cape Cod. Click here to read more about Cape Wind and the future of offshore wind energy.
The wind turbines will be spaced six to nine football fields apart, allowing plenty of navigational room for shallow draft boats that pass through or fish Horseshoe Shoal. Cape Wind has been endorsed by the Maritime Trades Council and the Seafarers International Union, the largest fleet of commercial fishermen in New England.
Cape Wind is undergoing a comprehensive environmental permitting process by seventeen federal and state agencies, under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act. In November 2004, these agencies released a very positive Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) reporting numerous project benefits at minimal impact (more on the DEIS). In February, 2007 Cape Wind filed a Final Environmental Impact Report with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Minerals Management Service (MMS) was granted by Congress the authority to review and approve offshore wind projects including Cape Wind in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The MMS issued Cape Wind a favorable DEIS in January 2008 and a favorable Final EIS in January, 2009. A Record of Decision from MMS is expected in the near future. The project has gained the support of national and regional environmental, health, labor and citizens advocacy groups.
Energy Management Inc. (EMI) is the developer of Cape Wind. EMI is a Massachusetts based energy company with a 30-year history of engineering, developing and constructing energy conservation projects and environmentally friendly electric generation facilities. The company has a proven track record in lowering energy costs, reducing pollution emissions, increasing energy independence, and creating jobs.
How many wind turbines will be part of Cape Wind?
Cape Wind is proposing 130 offshore wind turbines.
Where will Cape Wind be located?
In a shallow area of water toward the center of Nantucket Sound called Horseshoe Shoal (see map).
How far apart will the wind turbines be spaced on Horseshoe Shoal?
The wind turbines will be arrayed in a grid pattern of parallel rows. Within a row, the wind turbines will be .34 nautical miles apart (about 6 football fields), the rows will be .54 nautical miles apart (about 9 football fields).
What is the size of the wind turbines being proposed?
The towers, from the surface of the water to the center of the blades, will be 258 feet tall. The lowest blade tip height will be 75 feet above the surface of the water and the highest blade tip height will be 440 feet above the surface of the water. The base of the wind turbine towers will be 16 feet in diameter.
How will the wind turbines be secured to the seafloor?
Each wind turbine will be mounted to a single monopole foundation which is a hollow steel pipe that will be driven 80 feet into the sandy seabed.
How much electricity will Cape Wind provide?
Cape Wind will be rated to produce up to 468 megawatts of wind power as each wind turbine will produce up to 3.6 megawatts. Maximum expected production will be 454 megawatts. Average expected production will be 170 megawatts which is almost 75% of the 230 megawatt average electricity demand for Cape Cod and the Islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
Is the electricity needed?
Yes. The manager of the electric grid, the Independent System Operator of New England, has stated that New England will need additional electrical generation sources as soon as 2006. The Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) has stated that Cape Wind’s electricity is needed for electric reliability in Massachusetts (more on the EFSB decision).
What is the distance of the wind farm to shore?
Cape Wind will be 5.2 miles from Point Gammon, a private island in South Yarmouth, 5.6 miles from Cotuit, 6.5 miles from Craigville Beach on Cape Cod. Cape Wind will be 9.3 miles from Oak Bluffs and 13.8 miles from the town of Nantucket. Cape Wind will be farther away from the nearest home than any other electricity generation facility in Massachusetts.
How visible will the wind farm be from shore?
From the closest beach on Cape Cod, in clear conditions, the wind turbines will appear one half-inch above the horizon. Daytime visual simulations are available here as well as in the US Army Corps of Engineers Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
Who is Cape Wind?
Cape Wind is a project being developed by Energy Management Inc. (EMI). EMI is a Massachusetts-based energy company with an over 30-year history of developing some of the cleanest energy generation projects in New England including six natural gas and one biomass projects. EMI has also worked in the fields of energy conservation and pollution control technologies.