A Shore Thing
Controversy is bubbling along the East Coast of the U.S. as a handful of companies press forward with plans to build offshore wind turbines — 858 off the Maryland shore, 221 off Virginia, and 130 off Cape Cod, Mass. There are now some 15,000 wind turbines on U.S. land, providing clean, renewable power and decreasing U.S. dependence on foreign oil, but no turbine farms have yet been constructed in U.S. waters. Not-in-my-backyard complaints from wealthy communities in Cape Cod and other spots have thrown a wrench in some wind-energy plans. By contrast, officials in Northampton County, Va., the poorest county in the state, asked Winergy, one of the more aggressive wind-development companies, to move a proposed wind farm closer to shore, into local waters, so the community could better benefit from tax revenues and job opportunities. While the U.S. now gets less than 1 percent of its energy from wind, the Department of Energy has set a goal of increasing that figure to 5 percent by 2020.