Windfarm Cape Wind Learns It Isn't Easy Being Green

Last Updated May 1, 2010 11:07 AM EDT


Update - On 28 April the Department of Interior approved the project. Now the fight will move to the courts as both the local Native Americans and some landholders still want to try and stop the fight. Another issue remains the cost of electricity provided and how economically viable it will be.

Cape Wind is a company based out of Boston that is trying to build a wind farm in Nantucket Sound, the body of water between Cape Cod and the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts. Despite its efforts to provide clean energy, Cape Wind is flying into the teeth of a gale, illustrating just how hard it is to build energy producing facilities of any type in the U.S. these days.

For instance, the local Native American tribe, the Wampanoag Indians, claims the windfarm will interfere with the tribe's heritage and ceremonies. Construction of the wind towers will disturb their burial grounds and historical sites that have been submerged for the last few thousand years, the tribe argues. The Interior Department will rule on those objections by the end of the month.

Preservationists, meanwhile, insist that the project will have adverse effects on over thirty historical sites located near the Sound. And another round of complaints stems from Cape Wind's decision to buy turbines from a non-U.S. supplier -- the German subsidiary of Siemens (SI). Cape Wind had hoped that money from last year's "stimulus" package would help pay for the turbines, but there are moves in Congress to bar the purchase of non-American equipment with federal funds.

Building new power plants of any kind, of course, is difficult. While renewable energy like wind power doesn't consume resources or pollute the air, purported visual pollution and disruption to the existing environment still presents a problem for some people. Solar projects in California have been delayed and canceled due to endangered species and environmental concerns. Cape Wind is facing the same kind of objections.

  • Matthew Potter

    Matthew Potter is a resident of Huntsville, Ala., where he works supporting U.S. Army aviation programs. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he began work as a defense contractor in Washington D.C. specializing in program management and budget development and execution. In the last 15 years Matthew has worked for several companies, large and small, involved in all aspects of government contracting and procurement. He holds two degrees in history as well as studying at the Defense Acquisition University. He has written for Seeking Alpha and at his own website, DefenseProcurementNews.com.