Saturday, November 15, 2008

"Cape Wind" project is a great environmental news site I discovered through another agri-enviro blogger recently. Today browsing the 'most popular articles' list I discovered this old article and had to look into it:
RFK Jr. and other prominent enviros face off over Cape Cod wind farm.

Large scale clean energy projects like this one are the ones that really scare people. I've said before that I'm more of a proponent for personalized energy than large scale commercial energy projects. But the plain fact is we're going to need at least some of these large arrays in order to meet the energy quotas necessary to keep our homes and businesses running. So in this case the question comes down to whether or not historic Cape Cod is really off limits.

I have to argue with myself over this one. I've never actually been to Cape Cod, so I can't say exactly what the impact to the historic lighthouse views would be. Some concern has been expressed about light pollution due to the flashing lights necessary to warn away aircraft from the wind turbines...I hate light pollution. Still, to me 130 scattered wind turbines away-out-there in Nantucket Sound seems preferable to me than those ugly inland windfarms like I saw out near Palm Springs, California. California has about 13,000 or so wind turbines.
So we'll put the view aside for now, since I can't make an informed decision on that. Next of course is economic impact...will building a wind farm off the coast really put hundreds of fishermen out of work? I doubt it. Some, sure, but wind farming isn't going to stop fishing in the Sound. Already some folks such as this man in Iowa who lost other factory jobs are making a living building new green economy products such as turbine blades and solar panels.
I consider recreational boating impact to be of least concern, so I'm not even going to talk about sailing.
Now we come to the environmental impact. Even the big name enviro funds are split on this issue. The Massachusetts Audubon Society and The Humane Society are concerned about seabirds and ocean life, while World Wildlife Fund and GreenPeace have given the project their blessing. Certainly any place that is a good place to build a wind farm is going to be a place where eagles, hawks, seabirds and other avians like to circulate, and the impact on those populations needs to be weighed. Also the impact on ocean life due to the drilling and digging that will need to be done to the seabed to anchor the turbines and bury the electric cables. You can check out the Cape Wind Project FAQ for more details on these subjects.
So, in closing, this Cape Wind project sounds to me like a well planned, well thought out, and ultimately necessary step toward energy independence...pending of course the final Environmental Impact Statement.
I leave you to make your own decision.

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