Don Quixote to lead energy charge
Why not? Wind is free, but the turbines and power distribution system require investment.
“Administration wants to speed up process for windmills in Atlantic
By Darryl Fears
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 23, 2010; 9:19 PM
The Obama administration Tuesday announced a plan to speed up development of wind energy by searching the Atlantic Coast for the most desirable places to build windmills rather than wait for developers to propose sites that could hurt the environment or sit in the middle of a shipping lane.
Under a new initiative called Smart From the Start, the Department of the Interior will identify sites in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf with "high wind potential," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said. Officials said it currently takes up to nine years for an offshore project to get approval to build.
Salazar said the policy change is the result of "a lesson learned" from the grueling fight to place wind turbines in Massachusetts' scenic Nantucket Sound. Opponents have delayed construction of the Cape Wind development even though the government gave it a go-ahead in April.
Interior's new approach will avoid such delays by eliminating "a redundant step in the leasing process," Salazar said, regulating sites before developers select them. Leases could be granted as early as 2011.
Speeding up development "will get us to the point that the president's vision" of creating renewable energy on a wide scale "will become a reality," Salazar said. Only 2 percent of the energy in the United States is produced by wind.
The announcement at Fort McHenry in Baltimore was greeted with applause by Gov. Martin O'Malley and Rep. John Sarbanes of Maryland, and Sens. Thomas R. Carper and Christopher Coons of Delaware, all Democrats who stand with the Obama administration on wind energy.
"The hoops we have to jump through take way too long," O'Malley said. He said Maryland is part of a 10-state consortium, including New Jersey and Delaware, that support wind power. "We need to work together as Democrats and Republicans to shorten this process."
Carper said the fight for independence from foreign oil is as important as the fight to maintain our independence from the British that took place nearly two centuries ago at Fort McHenry.”