Posted by Katie Rosebrock | Posted in News | Posted on 29-04-2010
A permit was approved Wednesday for energy company Cape Wind Associates to build the first offshore wind farm off the cost of Cape Cod. It has taken 9 years for the permit to be approved, due in part to legal wranging by opponents, who have already announced they are filing a lawsuit.
According to an article on Yahoo!News “Plans for Cape Wind call for construction to begin within a year. Its 130 turbines would be placed in a grid pattern over a 25-square-mile area of Nantucket Sound. The closest turbine to land will be about five miles from Cape Cod . The turbines will supply a maximum of 468 megawatts of electricity, about the output of a medium-sized coal-fired electricity plant, or enough for about 200,000 homes in Massachusetts”
Opponents of the wind farm are concerned about everything from a ruined view to lost revenue for fishers to the destruction of habitat in the Nantucket Sound. Included in the opposition are the Native American Wampanoag tribes, who fear the turbines will interfere with traditional sunrise ceremonies and destroy ancient artifacts on the Nantucket Sound, which was once dry land where the tribes lived thousands of years ago.
On their website, Save the Sound, the group Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, has created a “Top 10 Myths About Cape Wind” which addresses what they consider to be the most misrepresented claims about the wind farm. According to the Alliance “the plant’s 10 story Electrical Service Platform would hold 40,000 gallons of hazardous oil in the middle of the 130 turbine array.” They also fear putting the wind farm in the Nantucket Sound would violate federal laws protecting wildlife including the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
As with any breaking news story, twitter was a buzz with opinions on both sides of the debate:
Proponents of the wind farm see it as a huge step towards green energy, especially in the wake of the Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the White House’s decision to allow more offshore oil drilling. They also hope it will speed up the approval of other proposed offshore wind farms in states such as Delaware, New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas and Rhode Island.
When one such supporter of the wind farms, Joanna Hamblin, who tweets from Boston @goodnaturegirl, was asked about the criticism of the Cape Wind project she had this to say:
One opponent of the wind farms, who tweets from Virginia @rohrbach, isn’t against the wind farms in principle, just concerned with their impact on the Nantucket Sound.
Perhaps the New York Times sums up feelings on wind farms best in their article on Cape Cod residents’ and their reaction to the wind farm “The fight has dragged on for so long that many find themselves on both sides of the issue. That is, they now support the development of renewable energy, but just not here.”
For more information on wind energy and how it works visit the US Department of Energy’s website