Cape Wind hits new stumbling block

Nearly a decade in the making, Cape Wind - what will be America’s first offshore wind farm - was a done deal after receiving federal approval in April. Or so it seemed. Ever since, anti-wind groups have fought tooth and nail against the project, which would power most of Cape Cod and offset the consumption of 113 million gallons of oil each year.

The latest setback: a federal appeals court has overturned the Federal Aviation Administration’s ruling that Cape Wind’s turbines present no danger for local air traffic. Of course, wind foes wasted no time celebrating the ruling, declaring it “a key step toward Cape Wind’s ultimate failure.”

The new delay could pose problems for Cape Wind, which still seeks investors and purchasers for half its projected output (National Grid has agreed to buy the other half). Without purchasers lined up, the project could struggle to raise capital, and scaling back the project would mean less output with higher per-watt costs.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Via AP:

Bill Short, a consultant working the renewable energy industry, said the ruling was a blow to Cape Wind, but the project can likely withstand any delay because it already has a buyer for half its power under very favorable terms.

"(It’s like) driving down the road and you’ve hit one hellacious, enormous pothole and it has given you a flat tire. That’s what this is like (for Cape Wind)," he said. "As opposed to you’re driving down the road and your car goes into a sinkhole and you don’t come out."

In an increasingly globalized world where we all pay dearly for oil - some with money, and some with blood - it’s frustrating to hear anyone cheer the failure of innovative clean energy projects, especially ones that will create jobs. As the AP story points out, Cape Wind backers say the project’s costs are worth the benefits, “including kicking off a new clean energy industry, while lowering carbon emissions and reducing dependence on foreign oil.”

Hopefully investors will see through the red tape and get this project on track - for good.

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