In 2010, the controversial Cape Wind offshore wind farm project became the first of its kind to receive federal approval.
Cape Wind, the proposed and hotly debated wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts in Nantucket Sound, was approved by the Obama administration in April 2010. While opponents voiced concerns about potential damage to the fishing and tourism industry and to coastal and marine ecosystems, others say the project is a much-needed first step in the development of offshore wind in the United States, which has the potential to be an excellent source of clean energy for the East Coast.
The Cape Wind offshore wind farm is projected to produce up to 468 megawatts of power, which would be about 50 percent as much power as a typical nuclear plant would produce. According to Jim Gordon, president of Cape Wind Associates, coastal states use 73 percent of the nation’s electricity, and the construction of Cape Wind will allow some of these states to obtain more of their energy from a local, renewable resource. Cape Wind Associates predicts the 130 turbines, which will be 440 feet tall from the surface of the water and 16 feet in diameter at the base, will produce enough energy to offset 113 million gallons of oil per year.