Trouble for Cape Wind

Cape Wind Associates’ plans to build a wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts have been met with heavy opposition (see “Catching the Wind,” cover story, January/February 2005). Offshore wind projects received a boost from the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which gave the Department of the Interior the authority to grant leases and easements to offshore alternative energy projects. The department is expected to make the final decision on the pending Cape Wind project in January 2007.

But in November, the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives each passed the Coast Guard Authorization Bill, which would give the Coast Guard the authority to evaluate the interference of offshore wind projects with navigation routes and could prohibit the construction of wind turbines within 1.5 miles of shipping and ferry lanes. If President George W. Bush signs the bill into law, it could effectively stop the Cape Wind project. According to Communications Director Mark Rodgers, Cape Wind Associates is campaigning to show that wind turbines will not interfere with shipping routes off the Cape. The group hopes to see the restrictions removed.