Although the US is surrounded by thousands of miles of coastline, it has yet to establish its first commercial off-shore wind farm. But that could all change if plans go through to auction off 2,434 square miles in the Atlantic Ocean to wind developers.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is currently looking at auctioning off an area the size of Delaware to commercial wind developers â€“ a plan which could generate as much as 1,000 GW of renewable energy. The BOEM has already conducted numerous studies to determine the effect wind farms off the Atlantic Coast would have on wildlife. So far, if the wind turbines are located in the right places, they should not interfere with birds or marine life.
But the BOEM is still wary of potential opposition to the new project, following the fiasco in Cape Cod.
In Cape Cod, a proposed wind farm development located 5 miles off the coast sparked opposition from oil heir billionaire William Koch who owns a home in Cape Cod and late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.). Apparently the new wind farm would spoil the view of the waterfront and offer considerable inconvenience to sailing parties. This of course wouldnâ€™t be the first time billionaires have taken issue with giant wind turbines spoiling their view.
The BOEM has decided to locate the new off-shore wind farm 10 miles off the coast so it will remain out of sight from the land.
In my opinion, it is about time the US invests in off-shore wind power. Europe has been investing in off-shore wind power since 1991 and is set to achieve 150 GW from off-shore sources by 2030. With a country as technologically advanced as the US (and so much coastline to install turbines on) the US could generate huge amounts of clean, renewable energy well into the future.
What are your thoughts on off-shore wind farms? Do you think this project should go ahead?
Image CC licensed by Kim Hansen: Off-shore wind farm, Denmark