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Floating wind-energy test put off for now

Blue H billed plan as an alternative to Cape turbines

A company seeking federal approval for a test project aimed at floating 120 wind turbines far off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard was denied yesterday because it had applied too late, but said it hoped to succeed at a later time.

The Massachusetts site proposed by Blue H, a subsidiary of a Dutch company, was not among the Minerals Management Service’s five locations on the Outer Continental Shelf where companies will be able to compete to measure wind, wave, and ocean energy.

Instead, 16 projects will be studied in five locations off New Jersey, Delaware, Georgia, Florida, and California.

Martin T. Reilly, a spokesman for Blue H, said: “We’re confident we’re going to get a favorable nomination for the leasing in the second round. We’ve had favorable meetings on Capitol Hill with members of the House and Senate, and the response that we’re getting . . . is extremely positive.”

In March, Blue H had presented its plan as a viable alternative to the Cape Wind project to build a wind farm in Nantucket Sound. That proposal, which kicked off much of the national frenzy over the potential for offshore wind development, has been under review so long that it was grandfathered into the process when Minerals Management, a federal agency of the US Department of the Interior, set out to establish guidelines for offshore energy development. But Cape Wind remains controversial, in large part because it would be visible from the shore.

Cape Wind supporters argued that their own project is much closer to becoming reality; Blue H’s first floating turbine is only now being tested off Italy’s coast.

A spokesman for Cape Wind, Mark Rodgers, declined to comment.

Minerals Management received 40 proposals for alternative-energy test projects.

“This is a major step forward in expanding our nation’s energy portfolio,” Randall Luthi, MMS director, said in a statement. “The information gained from research in these areas will greatly increase our understanding of the vast renewable energy potential just off our coast.”

By Stephanie Ebbert
Globe Staff

The Boston Globe

18 April 2008

[The Boston Globe published a clarification of this story the following day. It is reproduced below]

Clarification: A story in yesterday’s City & Region section on Blue H, a company proposing to float wind turbines off of Martha’s Vineyard, gave the incorrect impression that the company’s test project had been denied. Instead, the federal agency considering such projects has yet to consider Blue H’s application, due to the timing of its submission.

The Boston Globe

19 April 2008