Tuesday, May 05, 2009

"It's time for us to dream really big."

Vice President Joe Biden and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar didn't have that much news to report at their event to promote offshore wind power. The news was the event itself. By taking time to highlight the importance of renewable energy, particularly offshore wind, they become more invested in the success of the Bluewater Wind project.
Biden and Salazar talked about quickly finalizing procedures for awarding permits for offshore wind projects, which had been sitting on someone's desk for several years. Salazar said he predicted that ten to twelve applications will be filed before the end of the year. "I expect Delaware is going to be at the point of the spear" in offshore wind power, he said.
University of Delaware professor Willett Kempton emphasized the size of the opportunity, saying that the east coast of the U.S. has 16 times as much wind capacity as it does offshore oil.
Then came the vice president. It might have been the setting: no more than a hundred people crammed into a modest lecture room at his alma mater, but Joe Biden was his old self. He went off the teleprompter early, into classic Biden mode, speaking from the heart, piling up parenthetical phrases and repeating words for emphasis. Here are some samples:

Gov, the prospects are unlimited. The prospects are unlimited. And it's time for us to dream really big, not small.
At one point, he emphasized the importance of green jobs, "non-exportable jobs," by repeating the word seven times at one point:
This ultimately is about jobs. It's jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs.
And he said that our old views on economics and the environment have to change:
We've reached that point, as I said earlier, that inflection point where jobs, economic growth, and the environment are the same shade of green, Gov.
At that moment, he may have been addressing his remarks at either Jack Markell, or Russ Peterson, who was among the guests of honor. For the record, no one who spoke referred to Biden as "Veep."
Peter Mandelstam of Bluewater Wind told me that the company has attracted interest from quite a few potential investors. He said that he has time to consider offers, since Bluewater has the working capital to carry itself well into next year. Knowing that the federal government has already set the procedures in place to approve offshore wind projects helps; investors don't like uncertainty.


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