Last week, the Department of the Interior concluded that a proposed 24 square-mile wind farm 5 miles off Cape Cod posed no threat to the environment.
The conclusion represented a victory for the Cape Wind project, which wants to become the nation’s first offshore wind farm.
Many Cape residents, including Senator Edward Kennedy oppose the project on grounds that it would hurt wildlife and tourism, not to mention mess with the views from certain family compounds in Hyannis.
Cape Wind would cost $1 billion to build. It would include 130 turbines rising 440 feet above Nantucket Sound. On clear days, turbines would be visible a half inch above the horizon.
The project’s contractor is Energy Management Inc. Its president, Jim Gordon hopes construction can begin this year and that Cape Wind can produce electricity in 3 years.
“We think this wind farm is going to be embraced by…Cape Cod (and)…the nation” Gordon told the New York Times. “It has already encouraged other states to look at developing…coastal wind resources.”
So now it’s up to the Big O administration to rule on the decision. If it favors Cape Wind, it’s free and clear to lease an appropriate part of the Sound to Energy Management.
Except maybe not so fast. Turns out the FAA has to decide whether the farm would interfere with airplane radar, and the Coast Guard needs to assure it doesn’t mess with marine radar.
Also pending is an investigation by the inspector general at the Department of the Interior which was requested by locals who raised concerns about procedural issues in the review.
Project advocates believe Cape Wind can supply 75% of the electricity required by the Cape, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard while cutting emissions by an amount equal to that produced by 175,000 cars. Detractors say it will double electricity costs.