Harness the Hot Air

Supporting Cape Wind should be a natural position for people like Kennedy

the_heights_230By Kevin Boland

It's not often you find wealthy liberals opposing a renewable energy project - and yet, the Cape Wind proposal, which would place 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound, has been receiving such a reaction from the Masachusetts' elite.

The leaders in opposition claim that a wind farm would destroy the area's natural beauty. Using the political clout of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D), the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound has argued that the project would be an "inappropriate use of such a treasured public resource" and is trying to block Cape Wind at every turn.

45% of Cape Cod's electricity comes from the Canal Power Plant which burns oil.Supporting Cape Wind should be a natural position for people like Kennedy. Massachusetts is one of the few places in the nation to rely heavily on oil for both home heating and power plants.

In fact, 45 percent of Cape Cod's electricity comes from the Canal Power Plant in Sandwich, which burns oil. Cape Wind would directly offset petroleum usage, replacing 113 million gallons of oil per year. The wind turbines would provide an estimated 75 percent of the energy for Cape Cod and the Islands in the form of clean- carbon neutral energy (reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 734,000 tons per year), and save approximately $25 million per year for the New England electricity market.

Cape Wind calls for placing wind turbines on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound. From the closest beach on Cape Cod, in clear conditions, the wind turbines will appear just one half-inch above the horizon.

In fact, Cape Wind will be farther away from the nearest home than any other electricity generation facility in Massachusetts.

Kennedy is more concerned about the view from his veranda than helping Massachusetts become energy independent.The turbines would be spaced 600-900 yards apart, allowing plenty of navigational room for shallow draft boats that pass through or fish Horseshoe Shoal. The plan has been endorsed by the Maritime Trades Council, the Seafarers International Union (the largest fleet of commercial fishermen in New England), and the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

The last two major environmental catastrophes on Cape Cod and the Islands were linked to supplying the outdated energy plant at Sandwich with oil. On Dec. 15, 1976, the tanker Argo Merchant ran aground southeast of Nantucket Island and spilled 7.7 million gallons of oil. In April 2003, a barge carrying oil for the Mirant Canal Generating Plant spilled 98,000 gallons of oil, which killed 450 birds and destroyed 100,000 acres of shell-fishing beds.

He's excoriated Bush's tax cuts, the war, healthcare policies, and just about everything else for not demanding the rich share more in the 'national sacrifice.'An overwhelming majority of Massachusetts residents support the Cape Wind proposal. This year, the Opinion Research Corporation commissioned a survey that found that 84 percent of Massachusetts residents - including 58 percent of those who live on the Cape and the Islands - support "the proposed Cape Wind offshore wind farm that would involve wind turbines being placed in Nantucket Sound about five and a half miles from the Town of Hyannis."

People like Kennedy and the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound seem intent only on protecting Nantucket Sound from clean energy. Jonah Goldberg of National Review noted, "A very quick search of the LexisNexis news database reveals that Senator Kennedy has called for more 'sacrifice' from the wealthy roughly eight kabillion-jamillion-gazillion times during George W. Bush's presidency … He's excoriated Bush's tax cuts, the war, healthcare policies, and just about everything else for not demanding the rich share more in the 'national sacrifice.' Well, here's their chance. This is not some symbolic hybrid car you park next to your Hummer."

Right now, it seems that Kennedy is more concerned about the view from his veranda than helping Massachusetts become energy independent.

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