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Federal Permitting Issues Relating to Offshore Wind Energy, Using the Cape Wind Project in Massachusetts as an Illustration

September 2004

Citation: 34 ELR 10794

Issue: 9

Author: Thomas A. Utzinger

Cape Cod, Massachusetts, may soon become home to something other than quaint towns and peaceful beaches. If a Massachusetts-based company named Cape Wind Associates, LLC (Cape Wind) overcomes various administrative and political hurdles, Cape Cod will become home to the first offshore wind park in the United States (Cape Wind project or the project). Although no such projects currently exist in the United States, some European countries already utilize this offshore technology. With completion expected in 2005, the project will rival Europe's offshore wind parks. The project will have 130 turbines producing an average output of 185 megawatts and producing a maximum output of 420 megawatts.

Inland wind power constitutes a small yet increasing portion of the total U.S. power generation portfolio. Wind energy accounted for one-tenth of 1% of national generation as of the year 2000. In contrast, coal supplied 52% of the nation's electric energy needs in 2000, with nuclear power and natural gas providing 20% and 16%, respectively.

Thomas Utzinger received a B.A. in history from Cornell University in 1999, a J.D. from Boston University School of Law in 2002, and an LL.M. in environmental law from the George Washington University Law School in 2004. He is an associate at Cooper, Rose & English, L.L.P. in Summit, New Jersey. This Article was presented to the faculty of the George Washington University Law School as a thesis, in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree of Master of Laws.

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