AltUse News - Offshore Atlantic wind farm approved

The Obama administration has approved the Cape Wind wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts, which that state’s energy director Wednesdsay called “the shot heard around the world for renewable energy.” Read More
How much the comments of Ian Bowles, Massachusetts energy director, come true depend on whether or not the Cape Wind project can surmount expected lawsuits from various NIMBYs (who at one time included the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy and former CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite, both now deceased) as well as the higher costs of offshore wind.
But offshore Atlantic ocean wind energy poses a potential threat to the burgeoning wind development in Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas and those states’ desire to export their surplus wind (hopefully at a profit) to more populous states east of the Mississippi River.
Bowles and other eastern state energy officials, governor and utility executives have recently become more vocal in their opposition to paying for wind transmission from the Upper Midwest, saying eastern states should chart their own renewable energy course.
Iowa has the nation’s second-largest wind generating capacity, with more than 3,000 megawatts planned or on line. MidAmerican Energy of Des Moines is the nation’s largest investor-owned utility owner of wind generation.
Iowa Utilities Board member Darrell Hanson, who represents Iowa on a committee of Midwestern states regulators, said “in theory, any other wind projects work to Iowa’s disadvantage because it lessens the chances that we’ll have a monopoly on wind.”
But Hanson said that a lot of water, so to speak, has to be crossed before offshore Atlantic wind is a reality.
“They’ll have the same transmission issues for offshore wind that are present with Midwestern energy, and offshore wind is more expensive,” Hanson said.
He added that transmission over and through the highly urbanized eastern coast is a “nightmare” compared to the easier task of stringing lines from the Dakotas and Iowa to the east.
Various proposals have been floated for a 765-kilovolt transmission line that would be built to carry Midwestern wind electricity to the east. The electric reliability organization that includes Iowa and states as far east as Ohio is scheduled to submit a proposal for cost-sharing of such a line, whose construction expense alone has been estimated as high as $20 billion, to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by July 15.