According to the Department of Energy, the US has the potential to generate four times the amount of energy currently generated by power plants through off-shore wind turbines. However, as demonstrated in the 12-year approval process faced by the pioneering Cape Wind proposal for wind turbines on Nantucket Sound, regulatory hurdles and NIMBY grassroots action present a grave challenge to harnessing wind energy, reports Tom Zeller Jr.
While locals opposed the project on aesthetic and environmental grounds, policy experts cite decentralization of permitting authority as a major setback to getting off-shore projects approved.
Projected for completion by 2015, Cape Wind has the potential to meet 3/4 of Cape Cod's energy needs.
As part of its 2010 Smart from the Start initiative to promote renewable energy, the Obama administration has launched seven pilot off-shore projects in the U.S., but experts agree that expediting the permitting process is the only way to get closer to meeting the EPA's guidelines for 80 percent greenhouse emissions reduction by 2050.