The United States today approved plans for the country’s first offshore wind farm, in Nantucket Sound, Massachusetts. 130 turbines will provide electricity for the surrounding Cape Cod area. The plan was announced in the face of considerable local opposition, which included the family of former President John F. Kennedy and local Native American tribes. Opponents of the wind farm protested that it would spoil the natural environment, disrupt submerged Native American burial grounds and ruin views of the Sound.
This is an important step forward for the United States as it seeks to increase the amount of energy it derives from renewable sources and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Now that the Cape Cod project has been approved, similar efforts in other parts of the United States are likely to follow. Projects are planned near Atlantic City, New Jersey, Lake Erie in Ohio and Pamlico Sound, North Carolina.
Energy produced this way is still more expensive than that from onshore wind farms and traditional sources of energy like coal and hydro-power, but increased production may help develop the technology and bring prices down.