Cape Wind won another round of legal victories in its quest to build the first offshore wind farm in the US off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
In the latest ruling, US District Judge Walton upheld the
Department of Interior's approval of the wind farm against four lawsuits that challenged it.
As have courts in the past, Judge Walton rejected the same list of arguments over navigational safety, alternative locations,
historic preservation, Native American artifacts, sea turtles, and the adequacy of the project's environmental impact statement and biological opinions.
Environmental organizations, small and large, favor the project, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Conservation Law Foundation of New
England, and Massachusetts Audubon Society filed briefs in support of it.
Filed in 2010, when the project was permitted, the four legal challenges are mostly from the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, the main opposition group. Funded primarily by fossil fuel billionaire Bill Koch, this is the group's 14th lawsuit.
It turns out the decade-long battle has not been about views, property values, or concern for wildlife, but about powerful, entrenched dirty energy interests trying to prevent the emergence of a significant clean energy industry, led by one of the Koch Bros.
That's because reports show that Offshore Wind Turbines Can Power Entire East Coast.
It took nine years of comprehensive reviews by 17 federal
and state agencies before Cape Wind was approved. In contrast, it typically takes just two years to review a coal plant, notes NRDC.
At this point, Cape Wind is well along on financing, expecting to wrap it up later this year. Denmark's export credit agency EKF gave it a boost this month with $600 million in loans. It has long term power purchase agreements with National Grid and NSTAR, the two largest electric utilities in Massachusetts, and began construction of foundations and other components in time to qualify for tax credits that expired in 2013.
In an another milestone, Siemens wants to take a $100 million equity stake and signed a contract to supply and maintain the wind turbines - 130, 3.6 MW turbines. Called the workhorse of offshore turbines, they are installed at a majority of offshore wind sites, including the world's biggest offshore wind farm in England. A South Carolina contractor has been selected for the undersea electrical cables.
The $2.5 billion, 468 megawatt project is sited 4.7 miles off the coast, spread over 25 square miles of federal waters.
When it's completed, Cape Wind will supply 75% of the electricity for Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, creating 600-1000 jobs in the process.
Also on the East Coast, Deepwater is moving forward on offshore wind off the coast of Rhode Island.
Learn about the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound and its effort to kill Cape Wind: