America took one giant step into the clean energy future today when Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar approved the Cape Wind offshore wind project. Finally, we can move forward with this critical tool for addressing climate change.
I spent every summer of my childhood on Cape Cod, digging for clams and collecting shells on Nauset Beach. My father still goes to there regularly, and the Cape means a great deal to my family.
When the Cape Wind project was proposed, I traveled to Denmark to see for myself what an offshore wind farm looks like.
One morning, we boarded a boat from the charming tourist town of Nysted. As we left the marina, a light haze made it hard to see the 72 turbines from shore. But when we drew closer, the white towers appeared in an arc of clean, gleaming lines. I was struck by the simple ingenuity of the project. From the quiet hum of those turbines, Denmark taps into a free and inexhaustible resource and generates enough electricity to supply 145,000 households. All while releasing zero global-warming pollutants.
After we returned to shore, we spoke with Nysted's mayor, Lennart Damsbo-Andersen. When the wind farm was first announced, residents were very concerned about what the turbines would do the town’s charm and livelihood. Now, the mayor told me, “We look back and wonder what we were so worried about.” Life goes on much as it did before the wind farm.
Denmark generates 20 percent of its electricity from wind—the highest proportion in the world. The Danes have figured out how to make wind power work and how to address issues if they arise.
My trip to Denmark was four years ago. In that time, not one offshore wind project has been approved in the United States until today. Meanwhile the temperature continues to climb, the Arctic continues to melt, and America continues to lag on clean energy.
Kudos to Secretary Salazar for taking this first critically important step into the cleaner energy future. Cape Wind experienced thorough environmental reviews, and every detail was examined. I am confident it will be a safe and successful project.
I will always return to the Cape, and now, when I look out on the seascapes I love so much, I will be pleased to catch sight of wind turbines. That is the view to the future.