The Obama administration Tuesday announced a plan to speed up development of wind energy by searching the Atlantic Coast for the most desirable places to build windmills rather than wait for developers to propose sites that could hurt the environment or sit in the middle of a shipping lane.
Interior secretary Ken Salazar said the policy change is the result of "a lesson learned" from the grueling fight over the Cape Wind project to place wind turbines in Massachusetts' scenic Nantucket Sound.
Nick Loris, a research associate in energy and environment at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said that while the new initiative sounds good, it will still face challenges.
"Wherever you go, there will be hurdles to jump over," Loris said. Wind energy development will hurt scenic landscapes and drive up utility costs, he said. "It would take 59 Cape Wind projects to be equivalent to one offshore natural gas project. You're talking about a lot of projects up the coast."