On a day when further down the East coast lawmakers actually ponder setting fire to an uncontained deep-sea oil spill in the Gulf, the Obama administration just approved the first off-shore wind farm ever for the USA. After nine years of delays and legal battles using part of the $1 billion price tag to build it, the Cape Wind project off the coast of Nantucket has been given the go-ahead.
The potential of off-shore wind energy is staggering: a colossal 330 Gigawatts of potential wind power lies off the Atlantic Coast, or almost 200% of the total amount (185 Gigawatts) needed to supply nine states from Massachusetts to North Carolina.
Off-shore wind power off even just the (polled) No-NIMBY states of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia could take one third of the US population off the fossil grid. Today we break ground on the beginning of US off-shore wind power.
The Cape Wind project will supply 75% of the electricity demand for Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island. Rated at an average of 183 MW, 130 3.6 MW turbines with 440 foot long blades will be sited in a grid across 25 square miles of Nantucket Sound in Federal waters that lie almost out of sight of residents.
Wind power is clean energy that will never endanger wildlife as the oil spill does now; a mere 20 miles off environmentally sensitive coastlines further down Atlantic coasts. We see today some of the real ecological damage inflicted by dirty energy.
The alternative to dirty energy is clean energy. A clean energy superhighway of 160,000 5 MW off-shore wind turbines spaced about a mile apart down the coast could supply 100% of the electricity needs of five states and a third of the US population.
Image: European wind installer Frogdog*
Source: Department of the Interior
Susan Kraemer writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate and GreenProphet and has been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design she brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention: solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times. Follow Susan @dotcommodity on twitter.