Mickey Crabbe: "This might make good dessert talk":
By global standards, the Block Island Wind Farm is a tiny project, just five turbines capable of powering about 17,000 homes. Yet many people are hoping its completion, with the final blade bolted into place at the end of last week, will mark the start of a new American industry, one that could eventually make a huge contribution to reducing the nation’s climate-changing pollution. ...
The technology has been proved in Europe, where offshore wind farms as large as 300 turbines are being developed, with each turbine costing up to $30 million to build, install and connect to the power grid.
But the first major proposal in the United States, an immense project off Cape Cod that was to be called Cape Wind, was too big — 130 turbines — and too close to shore, many experts now believe. It drew ferocious opposition from oceanfront homeowners, gradually lost political support in Massachusetts and appears unlikely to go forward. ...
The companies now trying to start an offshore wind industry are determined not to repeat the mistakes that plagued Cape Wind. That is one reason Deepwater Wind decided to start with a small project.
The focus is still on the Northeast. That region has dense cities with strong electrical demand, high power prices, opposition to new power plants on land and some of the world’s stiffest ocean breezes off the coast. And the water remains relatively shallow many miles from shore, so wind farms could be installed far enough away that most of them would not be visible from the beaches.
... Yet if states go forward with their plans, experts say the costs are likely to fall sharply as domestic industry scales up to meet the demand.
Amber Cole said it best: "Thank God for the model trains, you know? If they didn't have the model trains they wouldn't have gotten the idea for the big trains."