TODAY, there are just three wind turbines in the sea off the American coastline, but that is about to change with the US federal government’s approval of an array of 130 machines to be located off the eastern seaboard at Cape Cod. After years of battling, Cape Wind at last has the green light for construction to start shortly on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound, off the coast of Massachusetts.
In a statement welcoming Secretary Salazar’s decision, Cape Wind president Jim Gordon said it would open the door to Americans being able to harness “an abundant and inexhaustible clean energy source for greater energy independence, a healthier environment and green jobs”.
Reflecting on the near decade long permitting path for Cape Wind, Gordon said: “Going first is never easy and Cape Wind is proud of the role we played in raising awareness for what will become a major component of our energy future and in helping the US develop a regulatory framework for this new, exciting industry.
“What enabled Cape Wind to reach this crucial milestone is the steadfast support of leading environmental, labour, health and trade organisations and the support of the overwhelming majority of Massachusetts citizens, who have repeatedly made their voices heard. We also appreciate Governor Deval Patrick’s support, vision and leadership to make Massachusetts a global leader in offshore renewables and the clean-energy economy.”
While becoming a global leader on offshore wind is way over the horizon for the US, construction at Horseshoe Shoal should start before the end of 2010.
Cape Wind claims that Horseshoe Shoal will be capable of providing most of the electricity used on Cape Cod and the nearby islands, so reducing this region’s need to import oil, coal and gas.
Cape Wind will be rated to produce up to 468MW (megawatts) based on 3.6MW Siemens turbines.
German company Siemens has been a leading provider of offshore wind turbines for almost 20 years since the world’s first offshore wind farm installed in 1991 in Vindeby, Denmark, to what is currently (and briefly) the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Horns Rev II, in the North Sea.
Siemens Wind Power also has a strong presence in the US with some 1,000 employees and more than $100million invested in two manufacturing locations for onshore wind turbines.
Maximum expected production will be 454MW. Average expected production will be 170MW, which is almost 75% of the 230MW average electricity demand for Cape Cod and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.