Governor O’Malley joined nine other East Coast governors in signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Department of the Interior. The MOU commits the parties to work together to coordinate a variety of issues related to developing the massive — and nearby — energy resources located to the east. States involved cover the coast from North Carolina to Maine.
In some cases, large, multi-agency attempts at coordination tend to slow things down more than speed them up. In this case, coordination of this type seems to be merited. Among the matters to tackled is transmission:
Examining regional offshore wind transmission strategies, and producing specific recommendations to address relevant planning and siting processes with Federal regulators, regional transmission organizations, and state officials.
Optimal development of the wind resources of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) will probably require an underwater, coast-wise transmission system linking together some or all of the wind farms (as has been advocated by Professor Kempton). This would enable a more steady power output.
Planning this new transmission system will require the cooperation of three regional transmission operators — New England, New York and PJM) — as well as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The fossil fuel interests will look for any opportunity they can find to stall this effort — as they have sabotaged the Cape Wind proposal for ten years.
One thing — besides prosecuting those responsible and assisting all who have been directly harmed — we should get out of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is a determined effort to develop offshore wind in the USA. We will need to hold the politicians’ feet to the fire.