Wind powerlessness

Even if you’re someone who thinks (s)he has followed the followed the failures in U.S. renewable energy policy closely, this brief published by the Center for American Progress will likely impress you, and not in a good way. That’s not to say the piece is bad in terms of the facts it asserts, or the ways in which they’re presented. For a think tank publication, the writing here is about as clear and sprightly as it gets. The facts themselves are what unsettle. The authors, Michael Conathan, CAP’s director of oceans policy, and Richard Caperton, a senior policy analyst, thoroughly catalog a host of wind farms proposed to be built offshore of Maine, New Jersey, Delaware, Rhode Island, North Carolina and even Ohio, which could be served electricity generated by a wind farm in Lake Erie — if our government didn’t keep the rules and regulations for offshore wind in a constant state of flux. Even the one, lone offshore wind farm permitted by the federal government — the long and laboriously battled Cape Wind project off Massachusetts — has recently had the rug pulled out from under it, with the Department of Energy putting a federal loan guarantee for the project on hold. But that’s an inapropos description of what the government has done to seagoing wind power, and the authors do better. The U.S. government doesn’t pull the rug out from under the offshore wind industry; like Lucy does to Charlie Brown, the feds tee up a nice fat football for offshore wind developers to kick — and then pull it away at the last instant, insuring that offshore wind flies high in the air and falls flat and painfully on its back, time and again. The chart showing how far ahead of us China and Europe are in the wind energy field may be the most horrifying element in this well-researched and finely written piece. Congratulations to the authors; would that the mainstream press recapped their work and horrified some voters.

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Filed under energy, wind power

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