Off-shore wind energy has long been considered an important option for renewable power especially given the focus on finding low-carbon or no-carbon energy sources. Off-shore winds are typically stronger and steadier over the ocean. In addition, off-shore wind farms can be located near densely populated coastal cities.
However, the industry has struggled. There are no operational commercial projects in the United States. Cape Wind - which was expected to be the first - has become a symbol of the difficulties for off-shore wind because it has been plagued with law suits, technical challenges, and local opposition.
Despite the setbacks that Cape Wind has faced, off-shore wind energy is gathering momentum. In recent years, technology has improved, prices have come down, and perhaps most importantly, lessons have been learned about siting.
Other parts of the world have embraced this technology as well with more than 3,000 off-shore wind turbines in Europe. Here at home, federal regulations have been simplified and dozens of projects are now in the planning stages, especially along the eastern seaboard. Several companies have announced investments in off-shore wind technology or manufacturing. Therefore, we should expect U.S. projects to come online in the near future as American business works toward increased use of this natural resource.