Ruling Could Set Back Wind Farm Proposed For Nantucket Sound

"Clean energy" and cultural values are colliding not far from Cape Cod National Seashore in Nantucket Sound, where a proposal to erect a wind farm was handed a potential setback Monday when Interior Secretary Ken Salazar pointed to a determination that the Sound is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

The secretary issued a statement regarding the proposed wind farm after a determination by the National Park Service’s Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places that Nantucket Sound is eligible for listing because of its significant archeological, historic, and cultural values. Those values, he said, must be considered in the Minerals Management Service's review process regarding a permit for the Cape Wind project proposed to be built in Horseshoe Shoals.

“America’s vast offshore wind resources offer exciting potential for our clean energy economy and for our nation’s efforts to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said the secretary. “But as we begin to develop these resources, we must ensure that we are doing so in the right way and in the right places. The Keeper’s finding that Nantucket Sound is eligible for listing in the National Register provides information that will help us to undertake final consultations and analysis of potential impacts of wind development on historic and cultural resources in Nantucket Sound.

“After several years of review, it is now time to move the Cape Wind proposal to a final decision point. That is why I am gathering the principal parties together next week to consider the findings of the Keeper and to discuss how we might find a common-sense agreement on actions that could be taken to minimize and mitigate Cape Wind’s potential impacts on historic and cultural resources. I am hopeful that an agreement among the parties can be reached by March 1. If an agreement among the parties can’t be reached, I will be prepared to take the steps necessary to bring the permit process to conclusion. The public, the parties, and the permit applicants deserve certainty and resolution.”

The Mashpee and Aquinnah Wampanoag tribes, the "People of the First Light," had sought the listing determination, arguing that the proposed wind farm would impact sacred rituals they conduct on the Sound by obscuring the sunrise. The tribes also have contended the project would impact submerged tribal burial grounds. Others object to the project because they believe it would blight the viewshed and create environmental and navigational impacts.

The company behind the project says that if built the "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."

While Secretary Salazar acknowledged the energy potential held in the winds that blow across the Sound, he also urged caution in permitting the project.

Comments

As a colonial-rooted Cape Cod native who firmly believes in the sanctity
of our maritime heritage, I am writing to ardently express my steadfast
support for the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. Based upon sensible
logic, data and reasoning, I am also conversely opposed to the
controversial Cape Wind Project which seeks to despoil and rob us of the
pristine nautical legacy bestowed by our forefathers. As a result of the
likely profound damaging regional financial, ecological and public safety
consequences Cape Wind would wrought upon us all, it should not be allowed
to proceed forward to fruition.

The project poses a cogent danger to essential air and sea navigation.
Siting the project in Nantucket Sound is a breach of the public trust.
Contrary to their sham claims, the cost of the electricity which the
project will produce would not be cheap or competitive. It would be an
unbearable fiscal burden hoisted upon us without our sanction or consent.
Furthermore, it will represent a deleterious local economic blow by it's
absconding of undeserved taxpayer-funded subsidies, forced real estate
devaluations, and lost revenues from commercial and tourism activities.
The proposed one hundred thirty wind turbines will perpetually cause
unsightly visual contamination and distressing noise pollution. Finally,
Cape Wind will unnecessarily endanger a critical marine and wildlife
habitat.

Off-shore deep water wind has surfaced as a cost-effective and
technologically feasible option in lieu of the Nantucket Sound situated
Cape Wind Project. Cape Wind has chosen a location which possesses
countless expenses as well as hazards to public safety, the marine
environment, and the local economy. Deeper-water sites offer more powerful
winds and the advantages of clean renewable energy without surrendering
the irreplaceable natural beauty of Nantucket Sound.

More distantly sited off-shore locations guarantee the advantages of clean
wind power without many of the harmful effects of close-shore siting.
Furthermore, there would be little harmful impact upon air and marine
navigational safety and local tourist-based economies.

In 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab
(NREL) estimated a total off-shore wind energy resource of over 1000 GW.
The potential for deep water locations greater than 30 m (or 100 feet) is
enormous. Approximately ninety percent of the off-shore wind potential in
the United States resides in deep water.

With the aforesaid thoughtful rationales in mind, along with the
inherently unfair and inequitable nature of the proposed Cape Wind Project
itself, it must not become a reality which will forever doom our children
and grandchildren to a ghastly socially inhumane legacy.

Ron Beaty
West Barnstable, MA

We want clean energy. We want wind farms.

Build them in the California desert and disturb the turtles?? Build them in the bay and destroy our visual??

How dare you!!

Build these wind farms - yes; but never, never, never, never, never in MY backyard.

...just sayin'

Most people seem to like the idea of wind and solar energy, but how many are willing to put it up in their own backyard. NPS sites might not be the best site for these proposals because of how much damage the construction process does to the land; levelling for solar farms, new road construction, water needs. But a few solar cells on the roof of a house can be done without all the impact. Having lived off the grid with solar, I can say that it was great, but it doesn't work everywhere.

I'm confident that if everyone works together the concerned citizens, attorneys, home owners associations, and elected officials will be able to agree on relocating the project to a more suitable and much less affluent neighborhood far far away. Or maybe the turbines could be disguised as Dutch windmills with tulip gardens surrounding them to make them more palatable to the affluent residents.

There once was wind power for the sound
Upset the residents did pound
with a little bit of luck
we can build it in the land of the shmuck
where it is not visible to the crowned

Another setback for Cape Wind project, which would utilize only 24 square miles of Nantucket to provide more than 420MW of clean, green power. The NPS ruling will slow a potentially revolutionary project for alternative energy production.

If you’re interested in wind energy, check out http://www.greencollareconomy.com. It has hundreds of case studies on emerging green technology and wind farms. It's also the largest b2b green directory on the web.

The more one knows about the Cape Wind project proposed for Nantucket Sound, the less one is in favor of this project.

Cape Wind represents a public safety hazard:

http://bjdurk.newsvine.com/_news/2009/09/19/3290406-cape-wind-a-public-safety-hazard-proposed-for-nantucket-sound-

Even Rich Nimby's can't afford Cape Wind energy;

http://bjdurk.polls.newsvine.com/_news/2009/02/05/2400385-even-rich-nimbys-cant-afford-cape-winds-energy

“Cape Wind has stated that there will be no permanent employment associated with this project in Barnstable County” page 23 of 29 Cape Wind Energy Project JR20084 Staff Report-September 4, 2007/

down-load Adobe Cape Cod Commission Staff Report available here:

http://www.windaction.org/documents/11706

Mass Audubon's testimony on Cape Wind to the USACE:

The President of Mass Audubon, Laura A. Johnson, submitted Mass Audubon's comments on the Cape Wind DEIS on February 23, 2005; to Ms. Karen Kirk Adams, the Cape Wind Energy Project Manager U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District -- Reference File No. NAE-2004-338-1, EOEA No. 12643:

"By utilizing other bird mortality data provided in the DEIS, Mass Audubon staff scientists arrived at avian mortalities that ranged from 2,300 to 6,600 collision deaths per year."

http://www.massaudubon.org/PDF/CapeWindDEIS.pdf

Cape Wind poses a threat to public safety, Sacred Land, tax and ratepayers, marine and avian life, mariners and air travelers, National Historic Landmarks and one of the world's finest surviving examples of a historic whaling port.

When it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.