What is offshore energy?

The world has descended on Houston this week for the Offshore Technology Conference at Reliant Center. The convention draws energy workers from 110 countries around the world – from Canada to China to Cote d’Ivoire.
But in keeping with the cacophony of ideas about how energy development should take place, this year the OTC isn’t limited to oil and natural gas.
One of the most interesting presentations so far has been a panel discussion on offshore wind development, which has been pioneered in recent years in Europe. The idea is this: use huge windmills mounted in waters off of breezy coastlines to generate clean electricity and zap it back to shore via underground cables.
Energy Management Inc. has proposed America’s first windfarm, dubbed Cape Wind, but it’s running into stiff opposition from some formidable opponents.
The company wants to build 130 turbines offshore in Nantucket Sound to generate power for that part of New England. But U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), whose family compound is located in nearby Hyannis, opposes it.
It would seem the Kennedys only favor renewable energy when it isn’t in their backyard.
The senator’s nephew, environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr., wrote an op/ed piece for the New York Times blasting the project for spoiling waterfront views and depending on government subsidies. He likened Cape Wind to building a windfarm in Yosemite National Park.
Cape Wind’s fate is in serious question. According to the Boston Globe, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) offered a favor to Sen. Kennedy in the form of a rider to the sure-to-pass Coast Guard reauthorization bill that would give Massachusetts’ Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, who opposes Cape Wind, the power to veto the project.
Craig Olmsted, Energy Management’s vice president of project development, said the legislation “targets this one project for extinction.” He’s hoping Congress will erupt in a floor fight over the issue and press for alternative energy.