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Interior chief sees wind in U.S. energy forecast

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar voiced optimism Friday that the nation's first offshore wind farm will soon break ground after more than a decade of delays and be followed by more off the Atlantic coast.
By MATTHEW DALY Published: April 6, 2013

But the project has stalled because of lawsuits and difficulties obtaining financing. Developers plan to build 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound, but they've faced bitter opposition since they first proposed the project in 2001.

Opponents have filed lawsuits and argue the project will ruin the pristine sound and endanger marine traffic and animal life. They also say the project's electricity is significantly overpriced.

Cape Wind says the cost is worth the project's benefits, including jobs, decreased pollution and a reliable power source near a busy coastline.

Salazar said delays and lawsuits that have plagued Cape Wind illustrate the difficulty of developing energy sources. Regulatory improvements in recent years should help other offshore projects follow more quickly, he said.

“Nobody had really focused on offshore wind energy until President Obama came into office,” he said. “Cape Wind wasn't even processed under the authority of this department. They ended up in this morass where it took them 10 years to work through that process.”

Now, with wind energy zones designated in the Atlantic Ocean, a host of wind farms should crop up from Maine to Virginia, Salazar said.

“We're very, very excited by the progress that has been made and we look forward to a robust offshore wind industry in the Atlantic.”