Offshore, Project Development, Wind Power

Cape Wind: When Can We Start?

The developers of the embattled Cape Wind project got another piece of good news today, moving the nation’s first federally-approved offshore wind farm closer to construction.

Cape Wind is a proposed 420-MW wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the state is allowed to give the project a so-called “composite certificate,” which supersedes other local regulatory agencies and protects Cape Wind from being bogged down by different permitting processes.

Because a transmission line connecting the project to the grid will run through a number of jurisdictions, different local agencies have given conflicting signals to the project. For example, the towns of Barnstable and Yarmouth did not want to grant the needed permits.

In 2007, the developer went to the Energy Facilities Siting Board and requested the board make the process easier and grant it all the needed permits at once. The Board was created to address this exact problem. The Board gave Cape Wind the permits, but a number of local opposition groups brought the issue to the Supreme Judicial Court.

Today’s ruling in favor of the Board’s decision means that Cape Wind has all the necessary federal, state and local permits to begin construction. In April, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar gave Cape Wind the federal government’s approval.

Looking at the last nine long years of legal battles over Cape Wind, it’s amazing that the project has continued to inch forward. But after a number of positive legal rulings this spring and summer, the vision for the first offshore wind farm in the U.S. looks like it may become a reality.

Back in 2007, the Daily Show’s Jason Jones put together a very funny skit on the controversy around Cape Wind. It’s worth a watch and a few good laughs.

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