The entire Massachusetts congressional delegation, including the state's nine U.S. representatives and two U.S. senators, has sent a joint letter to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) urging the department to approve the delayed loan guarantee for the Cape Wind offshore wind project.
Led by Rep. Bill Keating, the call for action comes two years after the DOE eliminated the Section 1705 loan-guarantee program and informed developer Cape Wind Associates that its application could not be processed by the program's Sept. 30, 2011, deadline. The application has been on hold ever since.
The letter is addressed to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and was also sent to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and White House Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Jeffrey Zients.
Within the letter, the Massachusetts legislators tout the potential economic and environmental benefits of Cape Wind, which is planned for Nantucket Sound.
"Cape Wind will create up to 1,000 jobs in Massachusetts during its construction and build a supply chain for the emerging offshore clean energy industry within the commonwealth that can serve as a model for future projects nationwide," the letter says. "In this way, Cape Wind will help the nation achieve important public policy goals such as greater energy independence and diversity, cleaner air and reduced greenhouse gas emissions."
According to the lawmakers, the Cape Wind project is construction-ready and represents a new era for the U.S. wind industry.
"Cape Wind is the first U.S. offshore wind farm to secure all of its federal, state and local permits and to have received a commercial lease and approval of its construction and operations plan," the letter says. "Further, Cape Wind's 10-year regulatory review was one of the most comprehensive and thorough of any energy project on record. With your help, Cape Wind will enable the U.S. to tap into its vast offshore wind resource as Europe and China are now doing off their shores.
"What this new industry needs most is for the first offshore wind turbines to be installed off our shores to demonstrate the seriousness of our nation in moving forward," the letter continues. "This is precisely what your timely approval of a DOE loan guarantee to Cape Wind will provide."
In response to the letter, Cape Wind President Jim Gordon said in a statement, ‘I am grateful to Congressman Bill Keating and to the entire Massachusetts congressional delegation for their leadership and vision in pursuit of a cleaner and more prosperous energy future for Massachusetts and for helping launch the U.S. offshore wind industry."