1: Cape Wind
The 420-megawatt Cape Wind project is big, but the expectations for it are even bigger. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who just last week announced approval for the project amidst some stiff opposition, expects the Nantucket Sound wind farm to do no less than prove the viability of offshore wind in America. Much remains to be done before the first turbine blades start to spin – bank financing and power purchase agreements must be finalized and the project must be built on time and within budget. But Cape Wind has already done a lot. The project’s developers have endured nine years of attempts to regulate offshore sites that played like a bureaucratic version of “Who’s on first?” before finally arriving at guidelines that future developers can follow. More importantly, the Obama administration has decided that the need for renewable energy trumps environmental and cultural concerns that threaten to block large projects. It’s an imperfect solution, to be sure, but it does move green energy forward.