offshore windOffshore wind projects could boom along the East Coast thanks to Google’s investment in an underwater transmission system. Photo: Andjohn

The prospects for offshore wind farms along the East Coast of the U.S. just got a lot brighter. Google and Good Energies, a New York financial firm, plan to sink a ton of money into building an underwater power transmission system. Cue the wind.

Blow, baby, blow: In theory at least, the proposed 350-mile transmission backbone could simplify and dramatically reduce the cost of operating wind farms along the Eastern Seaboard. And that could spark a clean energy boom in the East, even in southern states that have fought against a federal renewable electricity standard.

Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, likes what he’s seen of the plan so far.

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Conceptually it looks to me to be one of the most interesting transmission projects that I’ve ever seen walk through the door.  It provides a gathering point for off-shore wind for multiple projects up and down the coast.

[The New York Times]

Gust in time: A new report from the Department of Energy says the U.S. could generate 20 percent of its energy from wind power by 2030. [National Renewable Energy Lab] [PDF]

And in other green news:

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Joe turns schmo: West Virginia’s Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin, now in a tight race for the Senate seat long held by the late Robert Byrd, wants to make it absolutely clear that he’s no Barack Obama lackey. So he’s put out a TV ad where he not only promises to help get rid of the “bad parts of Obama Care,” but also fires a rifle into a mockup of something labeled the “Cap and Trade Bill.” Forget that cap-and-trade has already been dead for months … Joe’s on a roll. Then he faces the camera and reminds the audience that he just sued the EPA. See for yourself.   

It’s a dirty job: Why are so many businesses and members of Congress so down on Obama’s EPA? Because unlike what the EPA under George Bush, Jr. this version is actually trying to enforce pollution laws and regulations. [Salon]

Road warrior: Barack Obama continued to push his $50 billion infrastructure improvement initiative. Too bad it’s so car-friendly. The plan is to refurbish 150,000 miles of road and only 4,000 miles of rail. [Treehugger]

Battle wary: Expect a messy transition when the EPA starts trying to enforce its new emissions guidelines in January. [Politico]

Under the label: Should the EPA have a role in developing standards for green products? [GreenBiz]

Dry me a river: The soil in large areas of the Southern Hemisphere, including major portions of Australia, Africa, and South America, has been drying up during the past decade due to climate change. [Eurekalert!]

Carbon baiting: U.S. airlines could qualify for exemptions from European carbon fees if the U.S. takes steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at home. [The New York Times]

Big trucking deal: Toyota recently sold its 2 millionth Prius since 1997. Big deal. In that same period, more than 34 million pickup trucks were sold in the U.S. alone. [GOOD]

Galileo, you hack: Need a little levity? Here’s a group that makes climate change deniers seem the voice of reason. Its members believe the Catholic Church was right and Galileo was wrong about the sun being the center of the solar system. Enjoy. []