For Better or Worse: Controversy Over Wind Farm in Nantucket Sound
For 100 years, Cape Cod has been defined as the ultimate summer getaway, a place to unwind and relax. A place where visitors can tan on the beach, play in the waves and sail in the sound. The result is a region that is absolutely dependent on tourism and tourism that is dependent on the Cape’s aesthetic scenery. What will happen if part of that scenery changes from a serene and untouched ocean view to an industrial wind park?
The proposed wind farm will be built in an area known as Horseshoe Shoal, located five miles off the south shore of Cape Cod, in Nantucket Sound. Cape Wind Associates is the organization planning to build the wind farm. The farm will be visible in all areas that face the sound on Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. The wind farm will consist of 130 wind turbines, each turbine measuring 420 feet in height, each turbine about a quarter of a mile apart, covering a 24-square mile area. If built, it will be the largest wind farm in the world.
The question of whether or not a wind farm should be built in Nantucket Sound has divided residents of Cape Cod and the Islands, as well as many politicians famous for frequenting the area. Although many on both sides agree on the positive use of wind energy, many question building the farm in a location that is famous for the pristine beauty of the area. Those opposed to the project feel that constructing the farm will deter tourism, endanger the environment, and present safety problems.
People in favor of the wind farm believe that the benefit of using wind energy is more important than anything the Sound currently offers. In perfect weather conditions the farm will supply three-quarters of the Cape and Islands with electricity using clean and renewable energy.
“I think that, if anything, the wind farm will drive the cost of my store down,” said Jay Fulham, a general manager of an office supply store on the Cape. “We spend so much money on electricity, if the wind farm makes electricity more affordable, which it is supposed to do, we will definitely save money.”
According to Cape Wind Associates, the energy supplied from the turbines will reduce America’s dependency on foreign sources for oil and gas. A report published by Cape Wind states that the project will create between 600 and 1,000 temporary new jobs, and around 100 new permanent jobs. Also, it will create a new venue for tourism, thus improving an already existing industry.
Although many question whether the turbines will increase the tourism industry, many feel that it will remain unaffected.
“People will get used to it,” said Nancy, the manager of a local penny candy shop, the 1856 Country Store, a common stopping point for tourist. “It’s just one more thing to be angry about, and one more thing to get over.”
Wind energy, when compared to coal, oil and gas is less harmful to the environment. Wind energy produces zero tons of...