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Salazar to approve Cape Wind development

By Juliet Eilperin

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will approve Wednesday the construction of a major wind farm off Nantucket, Mass., the nation's first offshore wind farm, according to a source briefed on the decision. The move ends a nearly decade-long political feud and could open the way for significant offshore wind development along the East Coast.

The approval of the 130-turbine offshore wind farm called Cape Wind, which will be announced at a noon news conference in Boston, comes after numerous state and federal regulatory reviews. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D), a proponent of the project, will join Salazar at the news conference.

The nearly decade-long fight over whether to construct near Martha's Vineyard has cost millions in lobbying fees and has prompted an intense political debate on Cape Cod and in Washington, pitting backers of renewable energy against local American Indian tribes and those who want to preserve the natural beauty of Nantucket Sound.

By

Juliet Eilperin

 |  April 28, 2010; 11:15 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I'm also curious as to how much our economy will benefit from parts made out of the country for this project. Siemens (German based company) is slated to build the wind blades - supposedly here in Mass.
I wonder where the other parts will be made and what other countries will get the work for a lesser bid than our US based companies?

Posted by: skippysim1 | April 28, 2010 1:41 PM
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Biomass from Virginia Farmers, Natural Gas, Nuclear, distributed Biomass Combined Heat and Power, Stationary Fuel Cell are all easy and more efficient replacement for Coal.

Unfortunately, the current calculations for Coal costs fail to include the costs of climate change, health care needs resulting from coal pollution, mountaintop blasting and pollution of local rivers, and Crop and Fishery loss from Coal lead, mercury, and arsenic which is emitted in toxic doses. Nor does it consider jobs lost by failure to invest in renewable energy technologies. When a few get rich on polluting the lives and livelihood of the many, we must and will change how we generate our energy.

Posted by: liveride | April 28, 2010 1:39 PM
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Before everybody gets all ecstatic about offshore wind, one thing to keep in mind is that offshore wind turbines are pretty much limited to 100 feet of water depth or less. Also, the European wind farms in the North Sea have experienced incredible corrosion problems. Corrosion can be avoided, to some extent, by using non-ferrous materials (carbon fibers, etc.) but non-ferrous materials of sufficient structural strength are significantly more expensive. Also, certain parts of the turbine's mechanical systems need to be made of metal. Servicing and repairing offshore turbines and their infrastructure (transmission lines, etc.) is significantly more costly than land based turbines. All these extra costs increase the per Kwh cost of producing the electricity. Land based wind turbines already cost roughly 5 cents per Kwh, versus coal's 2 cents, to produce electricity.

Wind power is in no position to replace coal in providing the baseload of generation necessary in the U.S. at any point in the next 20 years, absent a national realignment of our economy to replace and upgrade the national electrical grid.

Posted by: SeaTigr | April 28, 2010 1:07 PM
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Contrary to a few postings here, most Renewable Energy advocates support Wind Farms along the East Coast as a way to reduce our dependence on Coal, create JOBS and new Industries in our States, reduce requirements for hundreds of miles on Transmission from the Midwest, and improve our Economy and National Security. This is a Win-Win no ifs and or buts about it. The Gulf Coast is now suffering from a massive Oil Spill; we are still using 60% of the world’s oil while we only own 3%. Any Power from Renewable that goes towards electric vehicles and trains is less money we send to the Middle East. Right now every time you fill your gas tank you can thank foreign sources for 60% of that. Energy Independence is not a war we can afford to lose.

Posted by: liveride | April 28, 2010 12:57 PM
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Unfortunately we (Cape Cod residents) will still be purchasing power from somewhere accross the country as we are currently and we will not benefit from the wind power. And the energy the wind farm produces will be sold to other people accross the country. Nothing good will come of this wind farm.

Posted by: skippysim1 | April 28, 2010 12:45 PM
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VA recently used $12~$14 million of Taxpayer money to attract 200 Jobs to Northern Virginia that will generate an estimated $30 million in tax revenue over ten years. Attracting Wind and Solar manufacturing that can create hundreds of Jobs to the region while not damaging our environmental resources should be given an appropriate resource commitment.

A Feed-In-Tariff for Wind, Solar and Biomass, a strong Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard of 25% by 2025, and decoupling Energy Utility earnings from increased Sales are the three most effective tools for attracting new Energy Jobs and Investment to VA.

Vestas Wind which uses state of the art Carbon Fiber Blades in its windmills recently opened a new manufacturing factory in Denver in response to regional demand. The VA Hampton roads area with access to manufacturing and shipping lanes is an ideal location for new Wind manufacturing and several areas around the state can provide the electronics and other components. They have already attracted an AREVA $353 Million Nuclear containment vessel manufacturing facility because of the embedded work force and adjacent access to shipping.

Posted by: liveride | April 28, 2010 12:36 PM
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A complete no brainer unless of course, you are liberal on the outside, NIMBY in reality. Hurray for Salazar

Posted by: lovinliberty | April 28, 2010 12:27 PM
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Sad - the tree hugger's wouldn't approve this while Ted Kennedy was alive because he didn't want it....leftist elitis NIMBYism at its worst......I guess now the Dems got the courage to try it again - what a bunch of spineless morons.

Posted by: Realist20 | April 28, 2010 12:26 PM
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While I favor this project and wind power in general, don't pop the champagne cork just yet. Remember all those "environmentalists" who opposed coal and nuclear power? Remember all the legal processes and tactics they developed to block coal and nuclear plants? Their chickens are about to come home to roost. The same tactics they used in the past will now be used by Native Americans and Cape residents to slow, if not kill, Cape Wind. Is this a great country or what???

Posted by: Chippewa | April 28, 2010 12:25 PM
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the entire Kennedy clan (including Ted) fought hard against this. Funny how the Post forgot to include this.

Posted by: djrhood | April 28, 2010 12:24 PM
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This is all about Kennedy and Cronkites' passing, therefore the celebrity opposition is gone.

If not for these 2, the wind farm would have been producing for over 5 years.

Talk about special interests' negative effects on society!

Posted by: coolguy1 | April 28, 2010 12:23 PM
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These windfarms will provide only a drop in the bucket compared to the nuclear energy plants that are now being proposed.

Go Nuclear NOW!!

Posted by: theduke89 | April 28, 2010 12:19 PM
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This is too funny. What happened to those who made a big NIMBY stink, including the Kennedy's and Cronkite, that said the wind mills would ruin the Cape Cod area? Its nice to see they have changed their mind. Would it have anything to do with the idea that some of the companies that made these things are buddy-buddy with the Obama administration?

Posted by: 45upnorth | April 28, 2010 12:17 PM
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The better question is; Why are we wasting our tax dollars subsidizing these monstrous albatrosses?

Posted by: snorbertzangox | April 28, 2010 12:16 PM
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Phew. Only nine years in the permit process. Maybe, finally, this'll get offshore wind moving here.

Next, can we get DOD off this project's back? (see http://climatechange.foreignpolicyblogs.com/2010/04/19/wind-power-more-bad-craziness/)

Eric - Did they move Iowa out of the country? (see http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/04/27/investing-americas-energy-security)

Posted by: BillHewitt | April 28, 2010 12:16 PM
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Ontario’s Feed in Tariff for developing Offshore Wind resources on Lake Erie is attracting over $83 Billion in investment and generating over $253 Billion in Economic activity and 66,362 new jobs while creating manufacturing, Research and Development, Demonstration and Deployment activity. Virginia and other East Coast States can create new Energy and Jobs within a short time as compared with the decades it takes for Nuclear, Gas and Oil and their drawbacks of waste and pollution.

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/03/offshore-awakening

Eleven East Coast governors are calling for an East Coast Offshore Wind connection Grid to tap into local resources as opposed to importing Wind energy from Midwest sources that are hundreds of miles away. An East Coast interconnected Offshore Wind grid would bring energy resources directly to the end users, while creating Jobs and Investment in local economies.

Posted by: liveride | April 28, 2010 12:16 PM
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"With how many we plan to build in the U.S., we need to have another American company joining GE so that we can have those good-paying green jobs here..."

Manufacturing turbines can be a bit tricky. They're not just long poles with a few blades on top. That's the easy part, although the blades are much more complicated to design than most people might think. It's the stuff inside the turbine housing that's complex to build. Modern wind turbines have a lot of technology in them. Mostly, though, it's the capital requirements that prevent a lot of companies from starting up a turbine manufacturer. You're talking about a lot of money...easily on the order of $100+ million. It's not just the money to start production, you're going to want AT LEAST 2 years of operating funds on hand. Personally, on something like wind turbines, I'd want 4-5 years of operating expenses on hand.

If I were looking to open a turbine manufacturing company, however, there's a few things I could do to save money. I'd open my plant in the Detroit/Dearborn area. There's plenty of manufacturing plants sitting idle - retooling an existing plant is almost always cheaper than building one from scratch. There's workers used to operating manufacturing machinery - I don't have to hire people completely unused to operating heavy machinery, this makes for a better learning curve. There's ready access to rail and sea shipping nodes so I don't have to build them myself. There's ready access to subcontractors who will build my components, a number of whom are local, which reduces shipping costs for those components. Plus, I'm sure the city of Detroit (or Dearborn) would be happy to extend favorable tax incentives.

Posted by: SeaTigr | April 28, 2010 12:15 PM
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Hope there will be more wind farms and more building other badly needed renewable energy facilities!

Posted by: lsf07 | April 28, 2010 12:15 PM
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Why is Cape Wind buying their offshore windmill turbines from Siemens? Siemens and Vestas are the two biggest suppliers, but we have only one manufacturer, GE, in the top 10 companies that make wind farm equipment. With how many we plan to build in the U.S., we need to have another American company joining GE so that we can have those good-paying green jobs here -- and getting the corporate tax income from them because foreign-based ones do not pay it. How about loosening the military supply restrictions on Pratt & Whitney so that it can branch out from aircraft engines to windmills, for example?

===============================

Vestas has a large factory in Colorado. Green jobs are here, and Vestas pays corporate income tax on revenue generated in the US.

Posted by: eeterrific | April 28, 2010 12:13 PM
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Why is Cape Wind buying their offshore windmill turbines from Siemens? Siemens and Vestas are the two biggest suppliers, but we have only one manufacturer, GE, in the top 10 companies that make wind farm equipment. With how many we plan to build in the U.S., we need to have another American company joining GE so that we can have those good-paying green jobs here -- and getting the corporate tax income from them because foreign-based ones do not pay it. How about loosening the military supply restrictions on Pratt & Whitney so that it can branch out from aircraft engines to windmills, for example?

Posted by: ericp331 | April 28, 2010 11:43 AM
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I guess since Ted Kennnedy is dead Ken didn't need to worry about blocking Ted's view of the Cape any longer.

Posted by: jdonner2 | April 28, 2010 11:43 AM
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