Thursday, April 29, 2010

Let Them Eat ... Wind

America’s schizophrenic psychosis regarding energy will doom us to losing leadership in Alternative Energy unless we wake up. We all want cheap gasoline and low heating bills, but are not prepared to pay for sustainable energy sources. We would rather that some Third World country despoil their soil rather than drill in our own backyard. NIMBYism is alive and well.

The Obama administration just approved the nation’s first offshore windmill farm, the Cape Wind project. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar approved the 25-square-mile section of Nantucket Sound for a 130 wind mill farm that will provide enough power for 200,000 homes in Massachusetts.

But it took nearly 10 years of fighting to arrive at this point, as everyone from the Kennedy family to local Native American tribes and the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound have fought hand over fist to stop the project. Now that the project has the go ahead there are already groups vowing to file additional law suits. It may be another 5 to 10 years before this project is completed.

I have been in many European cities that have windmill farms. In particular Copenhagen comes to mind, where the sea panorama has a necklace of wind mill towers strung down the coast. Not only are these wind farms not intrusive, they actually add interest to an otherwise flat seascape. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

And that is the problem really. If wealthy home owners are able to defeat any energy project just because they personally do not like it, then what kind of a national energy policy does that bespeak for America?

Richard Wottrich

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