The Patrick administration's release of a plan for construction of more than 200 wind turbines in the state's coastal waters, combined with the U.S. Interior Department's interest in resolving the latest dispute to plague the Cape Wind project, offers hope that 2010 may actually see progress made in the push for wind power. Should that happen off the state's coast, it may provide momentum for other projects around the state.
The Massachusetts Ocean Plan, the first of its kind in the nation, allows coastal communities to develop wind turbines while assuring protection of environmentally sensitive areas such as fish nurseries, whale feeding areas and endangered bird nesting areas. It has drawn the predictable NIMBY opposition, and passage of the Wind Siting Reform Act would help clear the way for green energy projects like this one that are regularly tripped up by special interest groups.
The unprecedented designation of the entire Nantucket Sound as eligible for placement on the National Register of Historic Places is just the latest obstacle for the embattled Cape Wind project. Such designation is ordinarily reserved for far smaller areas, and we hope that U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's decision to meet with key parties next week to address this latest obstacle means that Cape Wind may finally become reality.