Cape Wind | Ten Years of Debate

Yesterday, the U.S. government approved the plan to build Cape Wind.

Cape Wind is always referred to as “the country’s first offshore wind farm”. We hope it will be—they’re our hometown team—but debates still continue.

Upon the approval news, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound’s Audra Parker, warned backers of the project not to “declare victory in a battle that is far from over. The project is the subject of 11 separate lawsuits and appeals” and the project’s developer “has not secured the financing”.

Ironically, Cape Wind might not be “the first”. Other projects—that would never have made any headway without Cape Wind’s unrelenting pursuit to bring offshore wind power to America—might win this race.

Our Favorite Debate | 2002

Ah, the memories. Here’s our favorite—in it’s uncut entirety—of an early Cape Wind debate. This is an especially interesting and entertaining one aired by WBUR, the NPR affiliate in Boston, on October 7, 2002.

Why so good? The combination of guests: Jim Gordon (Cape Wind), Robert Kennedy (NIMBY), and Kert Davies (Greenpeace) along with Dick Gordon’s moderation is priceless. You’ll enjoy the folks who call into the live show too.

The NIMBY label fits Kennedy(s) well. He actually shouts “I believe in NIMBY” during the debate. Other choice nuggets won’t dissappoint either. More on Cape Cod NIMBYism here.

Wendy Williams wrote eight full pages dissecting this broadcast in her book Cape Wind. She describes Kennedy’s disturbing animus toward Gordon, his ludicrous behavior, nonsensical statements, and disgraceful discourse. She includes Davies’ quip in response to Kennedy’s over-the-top negativity: “I welcome the chance for Greenpeace to be the voice of reason for a change.”

Jim Gordon introduces the benefits of “ecotourism” in this debate too—maybe its first connection as yet another attendant benefit of Cape Wind. Last month, Hy-Line announced they will be running tourist cruises to the site. We coined the term “turbine watching" when we heard the news. Sounds more entertaining—like whale watching.

Remember folks, this was broadcast in 2002. Ironically, it could have aired yesterday since many of the same tired, baseless arguments are still used by Cape Wind’s opposition today—even points in the original broadcast blurb below are sadly still in play.

The Original WBUR Broadcast Description

Wind Resistance

It might be hurricane season, but the storm blowing across Nantucket Sound is one of controversy. A private developer is designing a massive offshore power plant, but not your usual, much-maligned oil rig. Rather, it’s a green energy wind farm.

In today’s, “it’s all about oil,” climate, you’d think folks would be electrified in their support of alternative energy ideas. Not so. Even though the 170 turbines could power half of Cape Cod, the project faces searing opposition, especially from environmentalists.

Critics describe massive avian Cuisinarts, and an industrial infrastructure that will ravage an already fragile marine ecosystem and destroy a pristine seascape.

Moderated by host Dick Gordon with guests:

  • James Gordon, President of Cape Wind Associates
  • Robert F. Kennedy Jr., environmental attorney and anti-windfarm campaigner
  • Kert Davies, research director for Greenpeace USA

WARNING: The broadcast is about an hour long—but well-worth your time. Listen to segment phases and come back for more if you can’t fit it in one sitting.

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