AWEA applauds Secretary Salazar for approving the Cape Wind Power Project

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) today issued the following statement from AWEA CEO Denise Bode:

“AWEA applauds Secretary Salazar for approving the Cape Wind project. Such forward-thinking decisions are necessary for the U.S. to realize the many environmental and economic benefits of offshore wind energy. The U.S. offshore wind industry will build on the success and the lessons learned from the nearly twenty years of experience in Europe to provide clean, pollution-free, electricity along the coasts and in the Great Lakes. In fact, American manufacturers have announced plans to build factories in Europe to service the robust offshore wind industry there. With policy support in the America we can incent that new manufacturing sector to build here. As Secretary Salazar said himself this January, there is a bright future for offshore wind in this country. Our recent polling shows that wind works for America – it means new manufacturing jobs, less dependence on imported energy, and more pure, clean, affordable energy for our country. We need comprehensive legislation now with a national Renewable Electricity Standard that will create a long-term market for the onshore and offshore wind industries and a set market for offshore wind that will bring extensive economic development and jobs to nearby areas.”

"On balance Cape Wind is good for our environment and our energy needs … if we get clean energy right, the whole world will be our customers."

The U.S. leads the world in wind energy capacity, but it have lagged behind other countries, especially in Europe, that have forged ahead with offshore wind power.

Salazar said he had considered seriously a letter from six Atlantic coast governors that following the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s recommendation to deny or relocate the project would have set a precedent that would have made development of wind energy offshoremore difficult.

Salazar approved the project with conditions intended to address concerns raised by groups opposed to the project. Offshore wind power is stronger, more consistent and near coastal population centers, meaning more power generation, less gaps in electricity and no need for huge transmission networks.

“After careful consideration of all the concerns expressed during the lengthy review and consultation process and thorough analyses of the many factors involved, I find that the public benefits weigh in favor of approving the Cape Wind project at the Horseshoe Shoal location,” Salazar said. “With this decision we are beginning a new direction in our Nation’s energy future, ushering in America’s first offshore wind energy facility and opening a new chapter in the history of this region.”

“Secretary Salazar’s decision today to approve Cape Wind has launched the American offshore wind industry. It allows our nation to harness an abundant and inexhaustible clean energy source for greater energy independence, a healthier environment and green jobs,” said Cape Wind President Jim Gordon in a press sytatement released this afternoon.

“After nine years of project review and independent scientific field research, Mass Audubon has concluded that the Cape Wind project would not pose an ecologically significant threat to the birds and associated marine habitat of Horseshoe Shoal and Nantucket Sound,” said Laura Johnson, president of Mass Audubon in a press statement.

Clean Power Now Executive Director Barbara Hill said: “We applaud Secretary Salazar for his vision and leadership in making this landmark decision and look forward to the day when the wind farm in Nantucket Sound will be producing the majority of the electrical needs of the Cape and islands establishing our region as a national model of sustainability and a clean energy future.”

The wind farm was first proposed in 2001, and has faced an uphill battle ever since. A series of challenges have been launched by opponents who are concerned about the natural habitat, the view, the costs, and by Native American tribes who say the area is a sacred ground.

A ruling by the federal government on April 28, 2010 cleared the final regulatory hurdle. Legal challenges are still expected.

The wind farm will have a capacity of 420 MW. The wind farm will be reduced in scope from the original 170 wind turbines planned to 130. The project calls for the installationof Siemens 3.6MW wind turbines on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound, each standing 440 tall to the tip of the blade.