Last Wednesday, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced that it has identified an area offshore Massachusetts for commercial wind energy development. BOEM narrowed the area somewhat from what had been proposed, based on certain wildlife concerns. Although the identification of the area as part of the Department of the Interior’s Smart from the Start program will allow expedited permitting, individual projects by lessees would be subject to NEPA.
One can only hope that this process will indeed result in the successful siting of large-scale commercial wind projects offshore. Solar energy is important, but it is a long way from playing a very large role in energy supply. On-shore wind has itself run into problems recently, at least in Massachusetts. It’s difficult to imagine substantial growth in renewable energy as a percentage of electricity supplies without offshore wind.
Cape Wind announced its plans in July 2001. Here’s hoping that the first project in this new offshore area gets approved sometime before 2025.