Cape Wind a Win for the Clean Energy Economy

By / 4.29.2010

In recent months, we at PPI have been doing our level best to call the nation’s attention to a bright green section of the map in the northeast, where Massachusetts is leading the way on virtually every front of environmental regulation and the building of a clean economy. Yesterday, Massachusetts found itself leading the way yet again, as the Obama administration announced the approval of the Cape Wind project, an offshore wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod.

We at PPI weren’t surprised. We had heard the inside word on the progress of the Cape Wind project in a meeting we held several weeks ago with several dozen New England business leaders, energy entrepreneurs and activists, featuring Ian Bowles, Massachuetts’ pathbreaking secretary of energy and environment. As Bowles told the crowd in early March, Cape Wind had passed most of its regulatory and litigation hurdles, and the administration was likely to support it.

Bowles was an unqualified supporter of the project, which promises — over a quixotic range of objections from various local NIMBY opponents — to provide a highly promising clean source of energy for Massachusetts. Cape Wind is rated to produce up to 468 megawatts of wind power, with average production of be 170 megawatts — almost 75 percent of the 230 megawatt average demand for Cape Cod and the Islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

Now that it’s a go, Cape Wind will become a pilot project for the nation and for President Obama’s push for a clean energy economy, a broad, innovative agenda that encompasses (among others) wind power, nuclear energy and myriad efficiency projects that will gain us millions of “negawatts.” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s announcement of the administration’s support for Cape Wind is another chapter in this still-being-written book about the nation’s future — whose pages open, fittingly, where our history begins, in Massachusetts.