A Win for Cape Wind

June 26, 2008 | Breakthrough Fellow,

By Ashley Lin Breakthrough Generation Fellow

The Cape Wind project was given a victory Friday, when Barnstable Superior County Judge Robert Kane ruled to dismiss four out of five counts filed in a lawsuit brought forth by the National Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound and the Town of Barnstable. This ruling represents a step forward for the project, which hopes to create America's first offshore wind farm, leading the way in renewable energy development.

The opposition group and the town of Barnstable, the largest community living near the sound, sued the Cape Wind Project and state secretary of energy and environmental affairs Ian Bowles for approving the project without adequate consideration of the project's impact.

As lead federal permitting agency, the minerals management service is expected to issue a final Environmental Impact Statement later this year.

The Cape Wind project would be the first of its kind in the United States, constructing 130 wind turbines miles from shore which are capable of producing up to 420 megawatts of clean energy. Cape Wind will not only provide a source of clean, renewable energy, but will also stabilize electricity prices through fixed-price electricity contracts and create new jobs.

But despite its obvious benefits, Cape Wind has faced constant opposition from the National Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, formed with the support of some the Cape's neighboring communities and fishing businesses. The group argues that wind turbines would affect the fish populations in the sound, would raise electricity costs two or three-fold, and would obstruct the views that residents have grown accustomed to.

The National Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound is NIMBYISM at work. While it is understandable to be concerned with one's neighborhood and living conditions, the residents involved in opposing Cape Wind should step back and see the bigger picture. The claim that electricity costs might go up with Cape Wind does not address the fact that electricity costs will probably rise regardless of whether or not wind turbines are installed. In fact, the cape and island's electricity costs have already doubled in the past five years. As for fishing concerns, reports have confirmed that there would be minimal impact on the fish population due to the wide spacing of the turbines and their location in shallow waters. And the complaint about the view? Wind turbines are not ugly behemoths. Integrated into the landscape, they contribute to a peaceful environment.

Cape Wind will make America a world-wide leader in renewable energy technology. The concerns raised by those in opposition to the project are narrow in scope. The National Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound and the town of Barnstable should see the ruling against them as an opportunity to look beyond small community concerns. Cape Wind has the potential to be the first step in creating the "silver buckshot" of sustainable energy for the United States. Communities on the cape should not let a resistance to change obstruct this wonderful opportunity.