We thought that we knew all there was to know about the Cape Wind controversy in Nantucket Sound. Then we talked to the folks involved, and you might say our pre-conceptions were "blown away." We encourage you to join us in our newfound indecision as we grapple with some intriguing windy nuances…
This could well be an oil executive’s dream: proponents of clean energy pitted against conservation-minded environmentalists. Cape Wind is hunting for a location for their wind farm, but folks represented by Cape Cod’s Save Our Sound have cried NIMGV! (Not In My Gorgeous View). After meeting with Mark Rodgers, Communications Director of Cape Wind Associates, and Charles Vinick, President and CEO of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, we learned that there is much more to this issue than NIMBY or NIMGV, but for every minute that the siting issues for Cape Wind remain unresolved, we burn more fossil fuels to fill in the gap.
Wind energy has become one of the fastest growing power sources in America, but still remains miserably low on the energy totem pole, generating less than 1% of all power in the U.S. (1) YERT believes that offshore wind turbines sitting beyond the visible horizon (roughly15 nautical miles from shore) make the most sense, and could generate as much as 907 gigawatts. Folks from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory say that number exceeds the "current installed U.S. electrical capacity." Oddly, we’re currently tapping a whopping 0% of that potential. What are we waiting for? Hopefully not the release of our little video. Take a look, then take a stand by clicking below on YERTpoll4: Wind Energy Opinionations — quickly!
Wind-ing Down for the Afternoon,
Julie, Ben, and Mark (Your YERT Team)
P.S. And now for Breadcrumbs! If you want to learn more about the topics in this video, check out these three resources:
- Save Our Sound. From the web page: "The [Save Our Sound] Alliance was formed in 2001 in response to Cape Wind’s alarming proposal to build a 130 turbine wind farm in Nantucket Sound." "Nantucket Sound and the waters surrounding the Cape and Islands are famous for natural beauty and abundant, diverse and unique wildlife. The Sound is also famous for recreational boating and fishing and draws over six million visitors annually to Cape Cod & the Islands. Nantucket Sound is central to our entire economy precisely because of its natural appeal."
- Cape Wind. From the web page: "Cape Wind is proposing Americas first offshore wind farm on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound. Miles from the nearest shore, 130 wind turbines will gracefully harness the wind to produce up to 420 megawatts of clean, renewable energy. In average winds, Cape Wind will provide three quarters of the Cape and Islands electricity needs."
- If land and sea-based wind power seem too costly or problematic for you, how about high altitude wind power? Folks at SkyWindPower seem to have a very compelling idea in and (literally) over their heads. From their website: "In mass use, our calculations show that FEGs [Flying Electric Generators] of Roberts’ design should be able to produce electricity at a life cycle cost of LESS THAN TWO CENTS PER KILOWATT HOUR using tether materials now available. And new tether materials with even stronger strength to weight ratios are being developed.." Here’s the detailed paper: Harnessing High Altitude Wind Power. (For reference, land-based wind and coal power cost around 3-4 cents per kilowatt hour, per this clever estimate in Science.)
- (1) Energy Information Administration, "Electric Power Monthly, March 2007," http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/ftproot/electricity/epm/02260703.pdf
- (2) National Renewable Energy Laboratory. W. Musial and S. Butterfield. "Future for Offshore Wind Energy in the United States," June 2004. http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy04osti/36313.pdf