The drill, baby, drill crowd was quick to discover that the President’s offshore drilling announcement does very little to increase access to domestic supplies and in fact puts 13 billion barrels of oil and 49 trillion cubic feet of natural gas off limits, respectively. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has been much more supportive of offshore wind energy, but should he be? A new Institute for Energy Research video compares a natural gas platform to an offshore wind platform and in terms of surface area and cost, natural gas wins out.
That’s not to say the government should favor offshore drilling of oil and natural gas at the expense of offshore wind projects or any other energy source. Instead of completely closing the books or causing unnecessary delays, the government should allow industry to pursue these opportunities.
The Obama administration issued the first offshore wind leases last year, but even they are having their fair share of problems, specifically not-in-my-back-yard problems.
Although the Cape Wind project the video mentions is still in progress, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce details the resistance, noting that the “project has faced strong opposition from some senior politicians in Massachusetts and a deep-pocketed and politically connected local group, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. It is reported that the Alliance has poured more than $15 million into fighting Cape Wind tooth and nail ever since the project was unveiled in 2001. The Alliance says that the project poses a threat to public safety, would impact shipping lanes, and would adversely affect tourism and Cape Cod’s economy due to its impact on Nantucket Sound’s natural beauty. The most recent development includes an effort underway by two Indian tribes, who are working in conjunction with the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, to designate the entire Nantucket Sound as an Indian historic property for listing on the National Register as a Traditional Cultural Property.”
Whatever the energy source may be, two reoccurring problems are overregulation and special-interest politicking; two problems that are unlikely to disappear any time soon.