Anti-Fossil fuel Senators aren’t so eager to support off-shore wind farms

One U.S. Senator isn’t so vocally dominant about the renewable energy that could result in wind turbines breaking the ocean skyline at his state. He’s asking the Trump administration for help in doing more government reviews. It’s almost as though he has become a NIMBY….anywhere but not in my backyard.

He is also one of the Democrats on the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works committee who has been at odds with Oklahoma Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe.

Here’s how Axios reporter Amy Harder reported the development:

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — In a few years, offshore wind could power the slot machines at this beachside gambling town, as I reported for this week’s “Axios on HBO.”

Driving the news: Danish company Ørsted, the world’s largest developer of this kind of energy, is planning to put nearly 100 massive turbines 15 miles into the Atlantic Ocean that could power a half-million homes — but opposition and delays could stymie that goal and the industry writ large.

The big picture: With New England and Mid-Atlantic states enacting aggressive clean energy policies, offshore wind promises to help combat climate change and create jobs. The numerous projects in the regulatory pipeline could power nearly 10 million homes.

  • But the only offshore wind farm operating in the country, near Rhode Island and operated by Ørsted, is tiny — just five turbines.
  • Proposals for far bigger farms are piling up as one project is delayed and the Trump administration conducts a broad review of the cumulative impact of all of them.

Between the lines: Ørsted’s U.S.-based CEO, Thomas Brostrom, said in an interview here that this review is a “speed bump” — but he also acknowledges his company is making contingency plans if delays go on for too long.

“We’ve seen maybe a speed bump, which creates a little bit of uncertainty but that’s following 4 or 5 years of very, very positive development. And obviously this is way too big to fail. We’re looking at $70 billion to be invested over the next 10 years.”
— Thomas Brostrom, “Axios on HBO”

What they’re saying: But even Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), an ardent climate change advocate, quietly signed onto a letter recently urging the Trump administration to conduct more comprehensive reviews.

  • Critics say such reviews could slow projects down, but Whitehouse contends they would ultimately speed up the process.

The intrigue: Clouding the bureaucratic fight over process is President Trump’s uniquely strong hatred of wind, possibly stemming from a fight that one of his golf courses in Scotland waged (unsuccessfully) against an offshore wind farm there.

  • More than any other type of energy, he regularly bashes wind in rallies, saying (inaccurately) that wind turbines cause cancer and that if it’s not windy, you can’t watch TV.

Yes, but: Trump’s hatred hasn’t (yet) led to any tangible impact on the actual approval of wind farms, per executives, politicians and others following the process closely.