Independent Study Refutes Cape Wind Criticism

The results are now in from a six-month independent study by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC) regarding the proposed 420 MW Cape Wind project which could be the first wind farm in the United States.

Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts – June 5, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Government officials and independent experts have verified that Cape Wind’s supply of electricity will be mostly consumed on the Cape and Islands and that Cape Wind will reduce both pollution and energy prices. These verifications have occurred as part of the MTC Cape & Islands Offshore Wind Stakeholder Process, and made official with its release of its findings. “I am grateful the MTC undertook this important initiative,” said Cape Wind President Jim Gordon. “The independent experts who gave presentations during these sessions agree that our wind power will be consumed on the Cape and Islands and that Cape Wind will reduce both air pollution and electricity prices. Those who continue to claim that Cape Wind would not provide an energy benefit to the Cape or that we won’t help reduce pollution have now been publicly refuted by independent experts who know the most about how the electric system works in New England.” Seven notable highlights of the MTC Cape & Islands Offshore Wind Stakeholder Process: – The electricity supply produced by Cape Wind will be consumed primarily on the Cape and Islands. Since electricity follows the path of least resistance, the power will flow to the homes, schools and businesses of the Cape and Islands. Only when Cape Wind is producing more power than demanded locally will some of the power cross the Cape Cod Canal. Cape Wind’s expected production of 170 MW of electricity in average wind conditions is almost three quarters of the 230 MW average electric demand of Cape Cod and the Islands. At peak output, Cape Wind will produce 420 MW of clean, green electricity. – Cape Wind’s electricity will displace more expensive, polluting fossil fueled power plants, thereby reducing wholesale electric prices and air pollution and increasing energy independence. The Massachusetts Commissioner of Energy Resources David O’Connor noted that “it is possible to say that the Cape Wind units would be more likely to displace the operation of the Canal plant than any other plant”. – Cape Wind will further reduce the price of energy to Massachusetts consumers by reducing the implementation costs of the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard. – Nantucket Sound is the most promising location to develop offshore wind power on the eastern seaboard. Dr. James Manwell, Director of the University of Massachusetts Renewable Energy Laboratory articulated all the characteristics that are needed for offshore wind development and why Nantucket Sound is an ideal location. – There is general agreement regarding the visual impact of Cape Wind from shore – the wind turbines will appear about one half inch above the horizon from the nearest Cape beaches. This was evident from the visual presentations by consultants hired by Cape Wind and by the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. One MTC Stakeholder Representative, Megan Amsler, Executive Director of Cape and Islands Self Reliance, was struck by the audience’s reaction to the visual impact presentations. “I thought it was telling that during both presentations, attendees had to get up out of their seats and approach the screen to make out the turbines on the horizon. It seemed that most people were surprised at how small they were”, she said. – The MTC-funded Massachusetts Audubon Society survey of Tern activity in Nantucket Sound concluded, “The majority of terns recorded during this study were observed near Monomoy Island NWR or the south shore of Cape Cod. Substantially fewer terns were seen on Horseshoe Shoals.” A much more comprehensive avian activity study of Nantucket Sound will be included in the permitting agencies’ Draft Environmental Impact Statement that will be released later this year. – Cape Cod and the Islands face a severe worsening of erosion in the coming decades because of rising sea levels from global warming. Dr. David Aubrey discussed research he participated in at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution that predicts the Cape and Islands will be losing 80 acres of land each year to erosion by 2050. Renewable energy can play an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a leading cause of global warming. The MTC report is available online at the link below.

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