Crowded Northeast Looks Offshore for Wind

Short of energy and too crowded to add plants, US looks seaward for wind farms
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Sep 3, 2008 10:00 AM CDT
A speed boat passes by offshore windmills in the North Sea offshore from the village of Blavandshuk near Esbjerg, Denmark.   (AP Photo/Heribert Proepper)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The Northeast is the most promising region of the US for major development of wind power, the Wall Street Journal reports, with large coastal cities close to strong offshore winds and a shallow continental shelf good for erecting turbines. The federal government is getting ready to lease 10 tracts of the outer shelf to companies primed to build wind farms; construction could start within 5 years.

That's the same shelf, the Journal notes, that's covered by an oil drilling ban now being hotly debated in the presidential race. A host of Eastern Seaboard states, where electric prices are already high enough to make wind potentially profitable, are in talks with developers. Threatening the projects' future is the fact that tax breaks necessary to make wind power competitive are due to expire at the end of the year, and Congress has repeatedly failed to pass an extension.