29th October 2011
In 2002, federal reguators predicted it would take between 18-months and three-years for the proposed Cape Wind energy project in Nantucket Sound to receive federal approval. Nearly ten years later, the project is still awaiting full federal clearance, and has yet to begin construction. Full operation remains at least two years away.
You want ‘green jobs’? Surprise — for all the rhetoric, the government is the chief impediment. (OF COURSE we want to have the Post Office provide our health care!)
The Cape Wind experience also shows that it does not take much to gum up the regulatory gears for new projects of this sort. Opposition to Cape Wind has been driven by a few dozen families willing to invest their time and money to influence the regulatory process — and it’s worked. It does not matter whether a proposed project is popular with local residents, as a relatively small group of naysayers can exploit existing regulatory requirements to slow things down in the hope of eventually killing the project altogether. If other offshore wind projects are to succeed where Cape Wind has (thus far) failed, they will must prepare for similar opposition, and encourage regulatory reforms that will streamline wind project development and approval.
Meddle not with the environment of the Crust, for they are subtle and quick to anger.