Thursday, January 14, 2010

• Nantucket’s Cape Wind Whips Up Hypocrisy

The Nantucket Massachusetts Cape Wind plans to built the first U.S. offshore wind park are blowing some toxic waste to the surface of the broad zeal to create “green” industries. These toxins are not of the materially harmful kind, but consist of all the pretentions at the core of too much human self-indulgence floating around the quagmire of the green energy movement.

The planned 130 wind turbine forest covering 24 sq. miles, which is intended to become a symbol of alternative energy on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound, could also become an enormous subsidy magnet, sucking $731 million from taxpayers, before any long term costs are estimated. The “money” in such projects is in “building” these blights on the landscape, and then heading out of town because they have historically never proven to either work or be comparatively efficient when measured against other energy sources. Nevertheless, the irony of the Cape Wind debate rests in the reaction it has received from the wealthier Massachusetts residents, lead by the Kennedy family.

After the recent push from the White House and Congressional Democrats for Cap and Trade legislation, and for a Copenhagen Agreement, it is ironic that the Kennedy clan and its Massachusetts friends are campaigning against the Cape Wind project. It seems, quite justifiably, that the blue bloods don’t want any unsightly giant wind turbines disturbing their idyllic paradise, and would rather not have them distract from the expansive views visible from their oceanfront weekend mansions. The farm would be visible from Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. They are using the obviously suspect rationalizations for their dissenting views, including the concern for wildlife, and the danger to air and sea navigation. They would evidently be much happier if the windmills disadvantaged some other corner of the population, even as they profess support for them generally.

The hypocrisy here is that they can’t bring themselves to speak against the sham that is the building of windmill farms. The moneyed Massachusetts residents who have controlled that State’s politics for two generations cannot bring themselves to admit that this windmill project would be unviable, producing electricity at approximately twice the current wholesale prices (Minerals Management Service (MMS) Draft Environmental Impact Statement), or that such windmill farms are notoriously inconsistent, unreliable, and expensive to maintain. Currently the money is in building the farms, and not in their successful energy contribution to the grid over the long term.

There is ample evidence that such systems create cash sinks that do not benefit any progress toward renewable energy sources, which is now forcing Europeans to scale back on their windmill investments. Massachusetts blue bloods will rest self-righteously in the comfortable feint that advocating windmills plays to the politically correct, politically lucrative, and presently financially rewarding clean-energy movement, but, “Hide these windmills somewhere far away, and not in my backyard.”

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