Public Comments Requested for Offshore Wind Power Projects

July 6, 2006


Photo of a row of wind turbines rising from the ocean.

Although the United States is a leader in wind power technology, it does not yet have an offshore wind plant such as this one, which is located off the coast of Arklow, Ireland.
Credit: GE Energy, ©2004, General Electric Company

The Minerals Management Service (MMS), a part of the U.S. Department of Interior, is making progress on preparing the Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) for two proposed offshore wind power plants. MMS will hold two public scoping meetings for the Long Island Offshore Wind Project on July 10th and 11th in the New York towns of West Babylon and Massapequa. The agency is also accepting comments online and by mail through August 21st. In addition, the MMS announced in late May that it plans to prepare an EIS for the proposed Cape Wind Energy Project in Nantucket Sound, Massachusetts. The agency is accepting public comments through July 14th. The Energy Policy Act of 2005, signed last August, granted authority to the Interior Department to manage renewable energy projects on the Outer Continental Shelf and gave the MMS primary responsibility for the environmental analysis and regulatory oversight of such projects. See the MMS press releases on the Long Island and Cape Wind projects.

Meanwhile, wind power developments on land are zooming ahead in the United States, judging by recent sales agreements for wind turbines. Airtricity, an Irish wind developer, has agreed to buy more than 500 megawatts (MW) of wind turbines from GE Energy. Airtricity will buy more than 300 1.5-MW wind turbines for more than $550 million in order to meet its plans for the United States in 2008. The company is currently planning to develop 4,500 MW of wind power in Colorado, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. is also in the game, selling 443 of its 1-MW wind turbines to Babcock & Brown for installation in 2006 and 2007. The wind turbines will go to a 38-MW project in northern California, a 90-MW project in New Mexico, a 135-MW project in Texas, and a 180-MW project in Colorado. Other dealmakers include Gamesa, which is selling 132 of its 2-megawatt wind turbines to Shell WindEnergy for use in 2007, and the Vestas Group, which is selling 107 MW of wind turbines to John Deere Credit. John Deere plans to use the wind turbines in community-based wind projects in the Midwest in 2007. See the John Deere Web site and the press releases from Airtricity (MS Word 65 KB), Mitsubishi, Gamesa, and Vestas.