Cape Wind to Increase Power by 7 Percent

The Cape Wind project is planning to boost annual production of clean wind energy by 7 percent by using more efficient turbines — specifically the new GE 3.6 Megawatt model xl. The annual expected wind power for the proposed project will now be 1,594,207 megawatt hours (MWh), up from 1,489,200 MWh.

Although the maximum output of the turbines is unchanged at 3.6 megawatts (MW), the new model is more productive during light wind conditions. The new wind turbines are slightly taller than the proposed previous turbines, but the 5 percent increase in height will not noticeably change the visual impact of the project from land. Cape Wind is also planning to substantially reduce the number of red aviation lights from 260 down to 57, an elimination of 203 lights. This updated aviation lighting plan is consistent with the new wind farm lighting guidelines being used by the FAA. Previously, each wind turbine was planned to have two red aviation lights; under the new plan, only the wind turbines on the perimeter of the project footprint, and the wind turbines next to the electric service platform, will each have one light on the top of the turbine nacelle. Cape Wind’s proposal to build America’s first offshore wind farm on Horseshoe Shoal would provide three-quarters of the electricity used on Cape Cod and the Islands from clean, renewable energy — reducing this region’s need to import oil, coal and gas. However, in the last year the project has stirred up strong sentiments for and against wind power development in Massachusetts and beyond. In addition to Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., has been perhaps the strongest opponent to the Cape Wind project, which would be within view of the influential Senator’s home off the coast of Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. The project recently came up in Massachusetts political circles again during an Oct. 3rd debate between gubernatorial candidates Republican Kerry Healey, Democratic Deval Patrick and Independent candidate Christy Mihos. “I’m against Cape Wind because if you like The Big Dig you’ll love Cape Wind and for all the wrong reasons. I should also explain that Cape Wind recently received an unfavorable Department of Defense decision whereby the industrial complex out there on Nantucket Sound would have a negative effect on Pave Paws and the radar in and around there so the government has put a moratorium on it,” said Mihos. Cape Wind responded to Mihos comments in a recent press release where it defended the project stating there is no moratorium on Cape Wind or wind power in general. “The Department of Defense report [released on Sept. 27th] did not make any statements that Cape Wind would hamper the operations of the Pave Paws radar system, the DOD report called for the issue to be studied,” stated the Oct. 3rd release. “The Big Dig is a massive transportation infrastructure project financed by the taxpayer, Cape Wind is a commercial clean energy offshore wind proposal that would be financed by the private sector and would only qualify to receive some government performance incentives if it is successful in delivering needed clean energy to Massachusetts.”
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