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Energy & Natural Resources|In The News

The New York Times: Offshore Wind Power Line Wins Backing

10.15.10

Husch Blackwell's James Hoecker was quoted in The New York Times October 12, 2010, article profiling a proposed 350-mile underwater transmission cable for future offshore windfarms along the Atlantic Seaboard. Google and New York financial firm Good Energies announced commitments to heavily invest in the $5 billion project. Hoecker, former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Husch Blackwell energy attorney, serves as outside counsel to WIRES, a nonprofit group that represents transmission owners, developers and customers. The proposed project sponsor is Trans-Elect Development, a WIRES member.

The article reports that the possible development "has stirred excitement among investors, government officials and environmentalists." Hoecker says the project should receive a favorable response among East Coast governors who have publicly disagreed with plans to build transmission lines from the wind-rich Great Plains region to help Eastern states meet renewable electricity requirements. "From Massachusetts down to Virginia, the governors have signed appeals to the Senate not to do anything that would lead to a high-voltage grid that would blanket the country and bring in wind from the Dakotas," he said.

Although there is concern regarding the market price of offshore wind energy and administrative hurdles to such a project, Hoecker believes the proposed project is "a necessary piece of what the Eastern governors have been talking about in terms of taking advantage of offshore wind."

Providing additional perspective on the Times article, Hoecker suggests that in order to meet national clean energy objectives, like increasing wind energy to 20 percent of the U.S. electricity supply by 2030 that the Department of Energy endorses, all sources of wind, solar and other domestic resources must be tapped and a grid must be built that can deliver that supply to numerous markets.