Thursday, April 29, 2010
For almost ten years, plans have been in the process of being drawn up to put 130 wind turbines off the coast of Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. The location of the wind farm would be in between the Cape and the Islands in Nantucket Sound in an area known as Horseshoe Shoals. The water there is approximately 8 to 55 feet deep. Due to a large number of environmental, water traffic and air traffic studies, as well as many lawsuits brought against it, the project seems like it will never end. Yesterday's decision does not allow construction yet but it does clear a lot of hurdles.
I'm personally excited about the possibility of the wind farm. I like the idea of clean energy. I don't think the turbines themselves are ugly (the picture here is of a wind turbine used to power our town waste water facility and is, obviously, not in the water). But, the turbines will be so far off-shore that you won't see much of them anyway. But the thing that excites me the most is actually the opposite of one of the arguments used by opponents of the project: They argue that the turbines will ruin fishing in that area. In reality, the existence of the turbines will enhance fishing by creating mini-reefs that will create breeding grounds for fish. The turbines themselves will be one-third to one-half a mile apart so they won't keep people out (although only shallow draft vessels could ever get in there anyway). For more and better arguments of this type, see this article.
To be fair, I'm putting links to the organization promoting this project, Cape Wind, and the major group opposing it, The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. We'll see how things go. Perhaps in a few years, I'll be writing this on a computer running on electricity generated by the wind.