Thursday, March 29, 2012

CAPE WIND ASSOCIATES vs. ALLIANCE TO PROTECT NANTUCKET SOUND

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CAPE WIND ASSOCIATES vs. ALLIANCE TO PROTECT NANTUCKET SOUND


Henry David Thoreau’s book CAPE COD describes the natural beauty of the


Cape. Thoreau, if alive today would be enraged because of Cape Wind Associates’


plan to build 10 wind turbines. These turbines would stand 417 feet high on 4


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square miles of Horseshoe Shoal (see attachment A) in Nantucket Sound. If


approved this wind farm would be the nation’s first and the largest in the world.


The average output could provide about 75% of the Cape’s usual electric demand


(www.capecodwind.org, visited March , 00). However, the electricity generated


would be sold to the New England power grid for all users and not directly benefit


Cape Cod residents.


The potential developers, Cape Wind Associates, contend that this is “good for


Cape Cod” and will create a new source of economic activity and in doing so make


the Cape a domestic leader in renewable energy avenues (Coleman, Jack. March 8,


00. Cape Cod Times Newspaper ). As for the actual towers themselves, proponents


state that Europe and Great Britain’s ocean wind farms have been studied


thoroughly revealing no harmful environmental impacts. Additionally, in Denmark


they are sailing destinations for recreational boaters (see cover page).


The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound wants Nantucket Sound to be


designated a natural marine sanctuary, which would stop commercial development


but would maintain recreational/commercial fishing, sailing and other current uses.


This ocean wind farm proposal has become a hot button issue to say the least.


Opponents such as fishermen, homeowners, business people, pilots, and boaters


believe the benefits of an unlimited supply of non-polluting local energy are negated


by the towers visual scar and harmful impact on oceanfront homes. More


importantly tourism, seabed shoals, the plethora of ocean birds and marine life �


including the feeding grounds for the endangered Northern Right Whale all may be


adversely affected.


An example of wildlife hazards transpired in Altamont Pass California when


several hundred birds, many of them raptors turned up dead in the surrounding


area of 7000 wind turbines during a two-year study. Most of the birds had collided


with the turbine blades. The power company implemented technical measures such


as painted blades and anti-perching devices, but these have only been somewhat


effective (Raven and Berg. 001. Environment).


On March 7th 00, I spoke with Legislative Liaison Joshua Mant from State


Senator Murray’s office (personal communication). He stated that there has been


hundreds of calls and e-mails opposing this potential ocean construction on


Nantucket Sound. This is the hottest issue in the district now and the Senator’s


stance is to wait until all the environmental studies are completed. In closing


because Mr. Mant is a Falmouth resident he personally contends that he is against


these 10 wind turbines.





The study that Senator Murray is referring to is U.S. Senator Kennedy’s request


for a $500,000.000 grant having the National Academy of Science analyze the impact


of this offshore project. Senator Kennedy (March 00) wrote in his press release


“….there is no existing federal regulatory regime to govern the siting, construction,


maintenance and ongoing oversight of such projects in federal waters.” Indeed,


Senator Kennedy is correct; we do not know what environmental impact will be.


The ultimate unknown is the extent to which these turbines will effect


Massachusetts’ energy costs.


As for other political leaders, only two, U.S. Congressman William Delahunt and


State Attorney General Thomas Reily have had the courage to publicly oppose this


wind farm. Congressional Aid Mark Forest stated that Congressman Delahunt


submitted a bill in Congress that would designate Nantucket Sound a National


Marine Sanctuary (personal communication March , 00). Another high level


public figure opposing the wind farm is retired CBS newscaster Walter Cronkite.


Mr. Cronkite, who lives on Martha’s Vineyard said (Cape Cod Times. Jan. 0, 00)


“Those towers would be obstructive to various aspects of life on Nantucket Sound-


fishing and recreational boating and very particularly to wildlife.” Cronikite filmed


a commercial for the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound for free. This is airing on


local cable systems.


Sal Nocella, a local fisherman from Mashpee, is upset over the proposed project


and states the wind farm will “look like shit” out on the ocean where he fishes


(personal communication April 4, 00).


Cape Wind Associates contend this is a low impact project and does not harm


any wildlife or the local economy pursuant to tourism. This project will bring new


jobs and reduce Massachusetts dependence on fossil fuels and the accompanied


pollution. However, they do admit visual impacts from the shore will be modest.


Cape Wind states on clear days the wind turbines will look like small masts on the


horizons depending on where you are standing. Mark Rodgers, Cape Wind


spokesman, spells out how the company is currently working on obtaining permits


via U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers, Coast Guard, Federal Aviation Admin. , and


Massachusetts Departments of Energy Facilities Siting Board, Executive Office


Environmental Affairs, Coastal Zone Management (Cape Cod Times. Jan. 00).


The first round of the fight was lost when the Alliance was unsuccessful in getting


a judge to block the wind farm data tower. This tower will collect scientific data


from air and sea, thus helping engineers to develop the suitable turbine design.


Additionally, the data will reveal answers to State and Federal regulators before any


more towers are erected and play a crucial role when Senator Kennedy’s request is


funded.


Mechanically, the wind turbines operate the opposite of a fan. They use wind to


make electricity. The up winds turn the blades (roughly 4-5 seconds a rotation)


which spin a shaft connecting to a generator that creates electricity (see attachment


B). An assemblage of underwater cables connect it to the mainland power grid.





Globally offshore wind farms are big business and the United Kingdom plans to


build 8 turbines, towering 00 feet near Great Yarmouth, three miles out in the


North Sea. Energy Minister Brian Wilson thinks that by the summer of 00 there


could be 76 megawatts of electricity generated. Ireland has approved plan’s for the


world’s largest (00 turbines, bigger than Cape Wind’s plan) wind farm located on


a sand bank south of Dublin in the Irish Sea. Their Marine Minister, Frank Fahey


predicts this will produce 10% of Ireland’s electric needs and eliminate 1 million


tons of greenhouse gases (BBC News. www.bbc.co.uk).


LOCATION is everything pursuant to a wind farm. Consequently,


LOCATION for WIND is superior on Horseshoe Shoal, level 6 (see attachment C).


Cape Wind wants this site, but do the tourists/residents who ferry by Horseshoe


Shoal on way to Nantucket? Cape Cod is about 80% ocean/beach tourism. The


tourism percentage with regards to locations of the wind farms in Ireland and the


U.K. is much lower.


The battle will continue until all data is collected, this could take years.


Million dollar oceanfront homes on the Cape and Islands could have some new


distant masts with nightlights to gaze at! Cape Cod would then be


America’s first viable ocean wind farm. Henry David Thoreau’s spirit to preserve


the natural beauty of the Cape will end in a courtroom.





Bibliography


BBC News. www.bbc.co.uk , visited April 4, 00


Cape Cod Times 00. www.capecodwind.org, visited March , 00.


Coleman, Jack. March 8, 00. Kennedy calls for Federal Study. Cape Cod Times Newpaper.


Edel,Kentworth. Windmills. Invention and Technology, Volume 18 #4 48


Learning, Jack. January 0, 00. Wind Farm Ad enlists Cronkite’s Presitige.


Cape Cod Times Newpaper.


Raven and Berg. 001. Environment


Harcourt College, Orlando, FL. Page 7


Thoreau, Henry David. 1865. Cape Cod


Penguin Books, New York, NY


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