is encouraged. (Each section has its own index.)
On Wednesday, August 15, 2007, the Cape
Cod Museum of Natural History
presented The Wind Farm: A Discussion.
Featured speakers were Jim Gordon, president of Cape Wind, and Charles
Vinick, CEO of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. The moderator
was Allen Larson, president of the Cape Cod Center for Sustainability.
The photographs in the
Gallery were taken by Ben Nugent,
during the discussion.
The Cape Cod Community Media Center (C3TV, Channel 17 in the mid-Cape area), will be broadcasting the recording of the discussion in October.
The Need for Fresh Air,
A Newspaper Event Recap
"Forum Points Up Pros, Cons of Cape Wind," Cape Codder, August 18,
2007: "Brewster—Why Nantucket Sound? Some people are still asking that
question six years after Cape Wind proposed a wind farm for Horseshoe
Shoals smack in the middle of the Sound." (continued)
Projected Wind Farm Completion Timeline
The wind farm is presently in the permitting
process, which will run through 2008.
If the permits are granted turbine manufacturing and construction will
proceed from 2008 through 2010.
Energy Advantage: "Since 1998, Sustainable Energy Advantage, LLC,
has helped private, public, and nonprofit organizations develop
opportunities for clean, renewable sources of energy, including wind,
solar, hydroelectric, biomass, and geothermal power, in competitive
wholesale and retail electricity markets.
By providing analysis and support on multiple fronts—strategy,
policy, marketing, negotiation, product development, and pricing—Sustainable
Energy Advantage helps its clients develop the building blocks of a
sustainable energy future: wholesale and retail renewable electricity
businesses; public policies such as Renewable Portfolio Standards and
incentive programs; rules of the road for electricity markets; and
certification and rating programs.
Federal Agency Responsible for Wind Farm
The federal agency that is presently
preparing the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is the U.S.
Minerals Management Service (MMS).
Their project summary page is
and it includes a link people can use to register any comments they may
want to put on the record.
Discussion Questions for Cape Wind and the
Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound
The following questions were submitted to the speakers by the audience members.
If it came to a choice between Cape Wind
and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which would you
What would Rachel Carson [exhibit currently on display at the
Cape Cod Museum of Natural History] think of Cape Wind?
Mr. Vinick, if you were to name your most significant objection
to the Cape Wind project, what would that be (only one)?
Mr. Gordon, if you were to name your most significant reason for
Cape Wind to proceed, what would that be (only one)?
Mr. Gordon, where are you going to locate your building
infrastructure— survey boats, crew boats, work boats, tugs, barges,
cranes, pile drivers, and stock yards? And what danger to the Sound’s
marine traffic will they constitute?
Mr. Gordon, as a developer, you say “we.” Who are your investors,
foreign and local?
Mr. Gordon, why would you select a national park that we all own
and share for free as the site for your project? Why should we give you
24 square miles of Nantucket Sound for free?
Mr. Gordon, your project is larger than Manhattan and larger than
Yarmouth, and it will make the Boston “Big Dig” look like Tinker Toys with
no benefit. Why not Otis Air Force Base?
Mr. Gordon, why has not one Cape Cod community publicly supported
Cape Wind in writing?
Mr. Gordon, why not build wind farms on currently undevelopable
lands such as state highway medians, which are already graded, highly
accessible, and currently useless instead of building in pristine,
highly prized recreational areas?
Mr. Gordon, how much will you dig up, and where will you move the
Sound benthic substrate that is to be displaced by tower and substation
pilings, wire trenches, and so on? What degree of bottom-dwelling and
substrate animals will be affected?
Mr. Gordon, after Horseshoe Shoals, have you considered the
Cape Wind claims that this electricity will be cheaper. Experts
say that the Long Island wind plan will be four times the current cost
of electricity. Why is Cape Wind refusing to tell us the true cost?
Is there common ground between the proponents and opponents of
Cape Wind? Recognizing the existing energy crisis and the natural
beauty of the Cape, is there a place to locate the wind farm where both
sides can agree?
Cape Wind has refused to release the five years of wind data. Why
should we believe the 10 days of information they released is accurate? Why are they afraid to release data?
Nantucket Sound and our beaches are the economic engine and the
heart and soul of the Cape and Islands. Why would a 24-square-mile
industrial plant with 40,000 gallons of oil be good for Cape Cod ?
How dirty is the Sandwich power plant? Will this wind power help
us to get rid of the Sandwich power plant?
Will Cape Wind be compensating the mobile gear fishermen that
will forever lose the ability to fish on the rich Horseshoe Shoals
Please address the point that wind turbines are “yesterday’s
Assuming that turbines are installed in the Sound, what assurance
do we have that when they are obsolete, they will be removed and not
left to rust in the water? I come from Buffalo, New York, where
Bethlehem Steel abandoned 15 square miles of steel plant.
Mr. Gordon, you are probably aware that only 2 percent of oil
is used for electricity nationally. Why do you continue to claim that
your project will reduce our dependence on oil for electricity?
Mr. Gordon, Cape Wind energy will mostly be sold to the highest
bidder. What does that have to do with the Cape’s population and with
our air quality—which is poor due to westerly winds coming from New
York City? Also, I have been to the Danish coast—it is a nice place—but do you seriously compare its recreation usage and tourism to that of
Would Cape Wind reduce the need for natural gas in producing
electricity on Cape Cod?
If federal and state earmarks and grants and subsidies, which
amount to $75 million a year, stop, is your project economically and
What is the life expectancy for the hardware initially installed? When and how will it be removed? What are the foreseen environmental
impacts due to the maintenance and/or removal of the equipment?
What percentage of power remains on Cape Cod? And what
percentage is exported?
Why can’t the windmills be farther out in the bay?
Cape Wind’s oil spill chart shows that in the event the 40,000
gallons of transformer oil spills, there is a “greater than 90 percent
chance that our beaches will be polluted.” Why isn’t Cape Wind mapping
the habitat that would be destroyed?
Specifics please: How many turbines? How big is the substation?
How far off-shore? Are they visible?
Who is the Beacon Hill Institute, and who paid for the study that
Charles Vinick cited?
Can Cape Cod residents be assured that they will benefit from the
wind farm in the form of reduced utility bills or a stake in the
Mr. Gordon, you’ve claimed that much of the Horseshoe Shoals area
navigable due to shallow water, so putting 130 turbines there will not
interfere with boating. If that’s true, how are you going to avoid
dredging out large swaths of the sea floor to accommodate the wind
turbine installation barges, which I understand are 400 feet long and
draw up to 16 feet of water?
This question assumes that during the past six years of this
debate, you have actually listened to what the other side has said. Please name one point that your opponent makes that you think makes
sense and that you agree with. Please be sincere and specific with your
Mr. Vinick, what power-generating alternatives do you recommend? If the shoals of Nantucket Sound were to be used to generate electric
power, what do you recommend?
Mr. Gordon, are there devices that can use wave action to
generate power? What are they? How much power can they generate? How
well do they compare to windmills?
Mr. Vinick, in what way would a wind farm damage fishing in the
Mr. Gordon, is a decommissioning fund required if the wind turbines are
no longer usable?
Mr. Gordon, your opponents claim Cape Wind will receive massive
“subsidies.” Please put the subsidies you will receive in perspective
versus fossil fuel and nuclear benefits [that are similarly available] from the government. For example,
will you receive subsidies for construction?
Since the Massachusetts Maritime Academy is able to generate its
own power and sell the extra to the “grid,” will the Cape Wind Nantucket
Sound project power go first to the Cape and Islands [with whatever is
left over being sold]
to the grid? If not, why not?
Mr. Gordon, European wind farms have not been subjected to
hurricane force winds. What assurances can you make that the proposed
design will be able to withstand force 5 and greater winds?
Mr. Gordon, why are you reluctant to disclose the financial
backers of this project?
Would each of you comment on the studies that show significant
radar distortion with windmills and how this distortion will affect
aviation as well as maritime safety?
Mr. Gordon, will the coal and gas fired power plants go away when
the Cape Wind farm is up and running?
Mr. Gordon, if Cape Wind is successful in building this project,
would or might your company advance proposals on deep-water-sited wind
farms and/or current tidal flow water turbines?
Mr. Vinick, if you are successful in stopping the wind farm,
would you support an expansion of the Canal power plant to generate the
power needed in the future for the Cape and Islands?
Mr. Gordon, in your comments, you were totally silent on the
economic factors of this project. Please tell us the following:
private capital will Cape Wind put up? How much public subsidy does
Cape Wind need or expect to receive in order to construct the 130 wind
turbines? How much private profit does Cape Wind expect to receive
from these turbines funded in large part by public subsidy?
Mr. Gordon, how much lower will energy bills be for the average
Cape Codder as a result of the wind farm?
I understand that your company is proposing to build a diesel
plant in Chelsea that seems to contradict your claims about dedication
to helping the environment. How do you reconcile this, and do groups like
Greenpeace support your diesel plant?
Mr. Gordon, is your company working on any deep-water wind
technology? How deep is deep water?
What is the likely impact of Cape Wind on the cost of electrical power
for the average customer?
Mr. Gordon, if this project were made to be a project
awarded by a competitive process, would you still be interested, or are
you interested only because you were given a competitive advantage?
What monetary gains will the Cape receive—that is, [will there
electric rates [on Cape Cod]?
Mr. Gordon, you mention “jobs creation” as a major economic
benefit for the Cape. Would you please be specific regarding the types
of jobs, pay scales, and so on [you are referring to]?
Will the wind farm be funded so that it can be dismantled and the
Sound returned to its original state when [the wind farm] becomes obsolete?
How do you think we can bring together the opposing forces on
this issue to achieve the common good for our shared future?