June 1, 2011

Offshore Wind in Doldrums

This detailed new report on offshore wind energy from the Center for American Progress notes that "in the United States, lack of a clear regulatory structure, inconsistent messages from other ocean stakeholders, congressional budget battles, opposition to specific project siting, and instability in financial markets have all played a role in preventing domestic offshore wind from becoming a reality." The report has a lot of valuable material on the most notable U.S. projects. It argues that the initial subsidies for offshore wind would pay for themselves as ultimate costs were lowered, but notes the sharp resistance to be encountered in convincing the public of the benefits: "Consumers used to paying 16 cents per kilowatt hour (the current average rate for residential consumers in New England) will naturally balk when their local utility starts buying power that costs more than 20 cents per kilowatt hour and passing all of these new costs along to them. This creates enormous challenges for offshore wind development, and it is a tremendous barrier to widespread public embrace of these projects."

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