The following comes from the Weekly Times, original reporting by AAP.
US wind farm shows green jobs future
CONSTRUCTION and operation plans have been approved for America’s first offshore wind farm.
The wind farm, which could create up to 1000 jobs, is part of the tens of thousands of jobs promised by a nationwide wind power industry in the US.
Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar yesterday announced the approval by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement for the Cape Wind project off the Massachusetts coast.
It clears the way for work to begin on the proposed 130-turbine wind farm in Nantucket Sound to begin within afew months.
The secretary said the $US2.62 billion project, which has already received other state and federal permits, could create 600 to 1000 jobs and that nationwide the wind power industry had the potential for tens of thousands of jobs.
“The wind potential off the Atlantic coast is staggering,” but the vetting process for projects to tap it is too drawn out, Salazar said at a news conference in Boston.
“Taking 10 years to permit an offshore wind farm like Cape Wind is simply unacceptable,” and the Obama administration is examining ways to streamline the permitting process so it won’t take so long, Salazar said.
Yet Cape Wind itself still faces hurdles.
Opponents have filed nearly a dozen lawsuits saying the turbines could harm the pristine environment of Nantucket Sound.
“It’s a national treasure that should not be industrialised,” said Audra Parker of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, who attended the event in Boston.
Developers of the 468-megawatt project also are still shopping for a buyer for about half the power the turbines are expected to generate.
In a statement, Govenor Deval Patrick said federal approval of the construction and operations plan meant the state was one step closer to benefiting from the clean energy and jobs that Cape Wind will produce.
“States up and down the East Coast are now looking to Massachusetts with envy as we launch this brand new American industry,” Patrick said.
A 2008 law requires Massachusetts utilities to obtain increasing amounts of renewable power and calls for 20 per cent of their supply to be renewable power by 2025.
The Cape Wind project will cost $US2.62 billion to build, according an estimate from the Massachusetts attorney general’s office.
Developers say it will power 200,000 homes in average winds.