- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 25, 2002

HYANNIS, Mass. (AP) James Gordon envisions a line of wind towers off the southern coast of Cape Cod, like a stand of Norway pines in the middle of the sea, quietly producing clean, renewable electricity.

Opponents see a much uglier image: Rows of turbines surrounded by construction barges and maintenance platforms corrupting their ocean views and dwarfing their pleasure boats.

Both portrayals have made their way to public hearings as the developer Cape Wind Associates attempts to win regulatory approval for the first offshore wind farm in U.S. waters.

What Cape Wind has in mind is ambitious: a wind farm of 170 turbines, each 263 feet tall and 423 feet from turbine tip to the water, between one-third and one-half mile apart over 25 square miles of Nantucket Sound.

At its closest, the $700 million project would place turbine towers on Horseshoe Shoal about four miles from Cape Cod, visible from land in clear conditions.

"On clear days, they will appear like small masts on the horizon," the company says.

The turbines would produce enough electricity to power more than half a million homes or enough electricity to offset up to 113 million gallons of imported oil a year.

But opponents warn of bird kills, navigational hazards and the ruin of productive fishing grounds if the wind farm is built. They say the wind farm won't produce enough electricity or offer enough reliability to balance those costs.

"What Cape Wind is proposing to do is industrialize Nantucket Sound on a massive scale with no direct return to Cape Cod for that industrialization," said Wendy Northcross, chief executive of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Gordon bristles at that characterization, calling it an "inaccurate sound bite." He said the towers themselves will take up only two acres and will look nothing like an industrial site.


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