America’s first offshore wind project, the 420 MW Cape Wind project planned for Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound, is facing a new legislative threat from Alaskan politicians. Language has been added to the 2006 Coast Guard Reauthorization Conference
Report bill that could effectively sideline the 130 turbine development if it interferes with navigation. Proponents of the scheme suggest that such catch-all wording will inevitably see the controversial project sunk beneath the waves off New England.
Legislators are considering the measure that could give Massachusetts the power to veto the project, even though it would stand in federal waters.
The move follows a similar attempt by Alaskan Representative Don Young who tried to introduce a measure that would have banned wind farms within 3 km of a shipping lane.
Advocates of the project, which has been reviewed by 17 separate Federal and State agencies since 2001, have announced a campaign to gather Congressional support for the development and strike language in the Coast Guard Bill “unfairly targeting the Cape Wind project.”
One supporter of the project, Lehman Brothers managing director Ted Roosevelt IV, voiced concern that the legislative provision could deter the financial community from investing in offshore renewable energy projects, having an impact far beyond Cape Wind.