Sunday, May 27, 2018

Let the winds blow

I have written before at length about community struggles over development of wind energy offshore of Martha's Vineyard Island in Massachusetts. Nothing about the process has been easy. The island and nearby Cape Cod are both populated by very determined environmentalists and very participatory citizens who want all the t's crossed before they warm to a big, novel project. And many of them enjoy enough economic and educational privilege to insist vocally on their views being heard.

But after decades of process, the state has signed a contract for an offshore 800 megawatt wind energy project that will power 400,000 homes in the next few years. The company whose bid won was smart to enlist a broad cast of local Bay State supporters.

A New Course for Offshore Wind. from VineyardWindMA on Vimeo.

This will be the first large wind project off the United States; we'll be playing catch up to many European countries in developing this resource, but at least we're getting started.

And, according to David Roberts, the Donald's backward regime doesn't seem to be impeding this move. In fact, Roberts is hopeful.

Donald Trump has a long history of hating on wind power — at least wind farms that threaten to block his views or impact his commercial operations. (He tweeted against a Scottish wind farm near one of his golf courses 60 times and reportedly wrote the country’s first minister at the time a series of unhinged letters about it.)

But Trump’s personal obsessions don’t seem to be dictating policy in this area. In April, the Department of Interior came out in strong support of the offshore industry. Secretary Ryan Zinke wrote an op-ed boosting the industry and DOI announced two new leases off the coast of Massachusetts amounting to 390,000 acres.

... it really does look like the US is getting into gear. The US Department of Energy predicts around 22,000 MW of offshore wind by 2030. But like so many other clean energy technologies, offshore wind already seems to be advancing and getting cheaper faster than anyone expected. My bet is that DOE’s number, like the vast bulk of predictions about renewable energy to date, will prove wildly below the mark.

1 comment:

Brandon said...

Geothermal is sometimes considered a renewable-energy source. However, the Puna Geothermal Venture plant has been the center of controversy for decades. Now the lava flow, which encroached on the grounds of the plant, has covered one of the wells.

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