Wind along the water source of green power

spfld_republican_85Reprinted with permission from The Springfied Republican,  January 17, 2008

The answer is blowing in the wind.

For those of us who live in Massachusetts - and who love old Cape Cod - Cape Wind will stand as a mark of honor...And it can be seen in melting polar ice caps, in rising sea levels, in the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. It can be seen also at the gas pump and in our home heating bills and in our dependence on foreign oil from unstable and unfriendly nations.

The question? What can we do to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, to increase our use of renewable sources of energy?

One answer is in the wind that blows strongly across Nantucket Sound, where a proposed system of wind turbines would turn the natural air currents into electricity - pollution free.

A proposal to construct 130 wind turbines in the waters off Cape Cod cleared its last major hurdle on Monday, when an exhaustive federal study said that there would be few serious negative effects from construction of the so-called wind farm. While there are steps that remain for Cape Wind, the group behind the turbines, it is now possible to imagine that the turbines will be operating in Nantucket Sound - and generating the equivalent of three-quarters of the electricity needed by all of Cape Cod - in just a few years.

When the project was proposed in 2001, we had serious concerns. We worried about birds being killed by the giant spinning blades of the turbines. We were concerned about the effects on the region's fishing industry. And we wondered about the aesthetics of the project and the possible negative impact on tourism.

But those worries were blown out of the water by the 2,000-page study from the U.S. Minerals Management Service, which found that the wind turbines would not have a significant negative impact on wildlife, navigation or tourism.

The offshore wind-energy project would be the first of its kind in the United States. For those of us who live in Massachusetts - and who love old Cape Cod - Cape Wind will stand as a mark of honor, an environmentally friendly source of electricity - clean green energy from the winds above the clear blue waters of Nantucket Sound. 

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