Cape Wind, that has proposed the nation’s first offshore wind farm, has chosen GE Wind Energy as the wind turbine manufacturer for its planned 420 MW offshore wind farm on Horseshoe Shoal off the coast of Cape Cod.Boston, Massachusetts – January 22, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Although it may do little to stifle opposition to the project, Cape Wind’s choice of GE’s new 3.6 MW offshore wind turbine will reduce the number needed from 170 to 130 without decreasing the amount of power produced. This reduction of 40 wind turbines will increase the distance between the south shore of Cape Cod and the wind farm. Developers believe the Cape Wind project will create an influx of jobs and development in Massachusetts, which has been hit particularly hard by the recent economic recession. “Here is an opportunity to keep more dollars in the region,” said Cape Wind’s Mark Rodgers. “We’re pleased to be able to select a U.S. based company as opposed to buying from other manufacturers overseas. There is also an anticipated demand for wind turbines on the east coast, yet currently no manufacturing on the coast. Cape Wind would serve as a catalyst for that type of business direction.” GE Wind Energy also anticipates future demand for wind turbines both on the east coast and throughout the energy industry. “We are very pleased to have been chosen to help bring this world-class wind power project to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” said Steve Zwolinski, president of GE Wind Energy. “As evidenced by its 31 percent growth rate globally over the past six years, wind power has emerged as the most practical Renewable Energy solution. The project will bring new economic development opportunities to New England with the potential for several hundred new jobs. We are currently evaluating deep water port facilities in the region for their suitability for manufacturing and assembly.” Rodgers said that both Quincy Harbor, Massachusetts and Quonset Point, Rhode Island were among GE Energy’s more favorable possibilities. Manufacturing could extend beyond the requirements for Cape Wind if the industry demand was there to support it as well. “GE Wind Energy manufactures the most advanced offshore wind turbines available today,” said Jim Gordon, president of Energy Management, Inc. (EMI) and managing general partner of Cape Wind. “GE Wind Energy is part of one of America’s most successful technology companies, and we’re delighted to have selected GE to provide the wind turbines for the Cape Wind project.” The specifications of the GE Wind turbines are being provided as part of several scientific and environmental reports to the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). In November 2001, Cape Wind filed “Environmental Notification Forms” with the USACE and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. The project has been undergoing a comprehensive environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act. Cooperating federal and state agencies are participating in the permitting review process. Rodgers said even the most optimistic projections for receiving permission to go ahead with the project would be no earlier than 10 months from now. According to the company, Cape Wind’s proposal to build America’s first offshore wind farm on Horseshoe Shoal will provide, on average, three-quarters of the electricity used on Cape Cod and the Islands from clean, Renewable Energy. The power will be available through the New England power grid. Rodgers said selecting GE Wind’s 3.6 MW model will allow the wind farm to have a smaller overall footprint since it cuts the total number of turbines down from the originally anticipated 170. This particular turbine choice will allow the site to be pushed further away from shore, and at 75 meters from sea level to the each unit’s hub, the turbines are also shorter than Cape Wind’s original predictions. It won’t be enough, however to quell the steady opposition the proposed wind farm has generated since its inception. Despite the possible advantages to a Renewable Energy resource at a time when energy sources are in question, The Cape Wind proposal has raised the ire of a large number of individuals and organizations. Issac Rosen, the executive director of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, a non-profit organization critical of Cape Wind’s proposal said it won’t make a difference whether the total number of turbines is brought down from the initial 170, if they are a little shorter or if the turbines are further off the Cape. “In our view it doesn’t matter. There’s still a fundamental problem with this development which is nothing short of a corporate land grab,” said Rosen. “There’s a lack of proper government and public oversight, and it’s still the privatization and industrialization of a public resource.” Proposals for offshore wind projects in the US – and the opposition that goes with it – are likely to increase in frequency. When and where the first kilowatts are generated remains to be seen.