Wind Farm Proposed for Washingtonians' Beach Retreat:

The Washington Post reports on a proposal to build a wind farm off the coast of Delaware.

Two hundred towering windmills, each so tall that its blades would loom over the U.S. Capitol Dome, could be built in the Atlantic Ocean near one of Washingtonians' favorite beach retreats, under a plan being considered in Delaware.

The plan, which could create the first wind "farm" in waters along the East Coast, envisions a thicket of turbines offshore of either Rehoboth Beach or Bethany Beach, Del. As the blades are spun by ocean winds, designers say, the wind farm could provide enough power every year for 130,000 homes.

As the Delaware shore is where many Beltway-types spend their weekends during the summer, this could be a real test of Washington's willingness to promote — or even allow — alternative energy sources. Sea-based windfarms make eminent sense, yet they have faced regulatory obstacles to date.

Wind farms have sprouted all over the United States in the past decade. There are about 150, from California to the West Virginia highlands. But, so far, they have sprouted only on land.

Proposals to put turbines in the water have come less far — hung up, in some cases, by concerns that they will harm birds, disrupt shipping or become a blight on ocean vistas. One company that had planned wind farms off the Maryland and Virginia coasts, New York-based Winergy Power, says it has put those projects on hold while the federal government works on rules for issuing permits.

Closer to (my) home, there are proposals to erect wind turbines in Lake Erie. The engineering requirements are a bit different for a freshwater installation, but engineers with whom I've spoken are optimistic. Here again, however, regulatory obstacles may get in the way, as reported here.