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August 31, 2012
The Federal Aviation Administration recently approved Cape Wind, America’s first offshore wind project. The controversial project will mean the construction of 130 wind turbines in the Nantucket Sound, which is located just south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. The project has taken nearly a decade to get the go from the FAA as those who oppose its construction have claimed that the turbines will be a hazard for low-flying airplanes and that building the turbines will interrupt the environmentally sensitive sound. Others promote the plan seeing it as a way to establish a source of renewable energy that is independent of fossil fuels. The project will also create hundreds of jobs while stimulating the economy and related industries such as tourism and marine transportation.
Despite the efforts of the group who strongly oppose the project, The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, the FAA has decided that the turbines as long as they are no taller than 440 feet above ground level, would not pose any threat to aircrafts flying in the sound nor would they interfere with air traffic control, as the group claims. Some local fishermen as well as ferry owners have also been wary of the project, fearing the turbines presence could have a negative effect on business.
Those who support the project see a future much less grim once Cape Wind becomes a reality. Upon completion, the turbines will be able to power at least 75% the Cape, which is roughly 420,000 homes. Also, the project will make Massachusetts the pioneer of the nation in the pursuit of alternative, renewable energy and will hopefully pave the way for other states to pursuit the same types of projects. “I think it’s great that the FAA finally approved the Cape Wind project,” said Mary Walters, a Martha’s Vineyard resident. “Most of the people I know support it and have been waiting for it. Everyone wants renewable energy and less dependence on foreign oil.” The 468-mega watt wind farm will also put Cape Cod on the map as a new destination for the up and coming eco-tourism market. Jim Gordon, owner of Hy-Line Cruises, a company that has been ferrying people across the sound since 1962 was originally against the energy project, but now sees it as a tourist attraction. The company plans to build a special hybrid boat to give eco-tours of the area. Gordon says trips to the wind farm will be, “awe inspiring.”
An offshore project of this size and capacity will certainly be good for the economy as well as related industries. As the project moves through each stage of development, more and more jobs will be created. Also it is predicted that the tourism industry will also be stimulated, thus creating more jobs as well. Another industry worth mention that will be positively affected by the project is the marine transportation industry. This industry includes companies that use large carrier vessels to transport materials, transport boats, and transport break bulk (such as the turbines), directly to the sites construction. Ocean Trade Lines, a company operating out of South Florida, specializes in such transports. “These types of major off shore energy projects are one of the many areas that we specialize in,” said Kostas Constant, Operations Manager at OTL. “They call for considerable marine transports usually for long periods of time. We are really excited about Cape Wind especially because it’s the first of its kind in the country.”
The recent approval by the FAA is major news for those involved in the project. “It’s a big step forward for Cape Wind from a regulatory standpoint,’ commented Mark Rodgers, the Cape Wind spokes person. According to Rodgers, the project is set to break ground in early 2013 and should be up and running by 2015. Although this is the fourth time that the FAA has approved the plan only to be overturned by the opposition, it seems that this time, the decision will stand. In fact, our sources tell us that a marina in Falmouth, Massachusetts has already been purchased to be the projects home base.
Written by: Admin
[Source: capewind.com, boston.com]
[Photo Provided by: The Associated Press]
[Photo Provided by: The Associated Press]