Wind developers face a backlash from citizens.
Jay S. Polachek is managing editor of Public Utilities Fortnightly.
The Boston, Mass.-based energy firm Cape Wind Associates is proposing something never-before-done in the United States. The wind farm developers are proposing to build an offshore wind farm just a few miles from the historic, and tourist-packed, beaches of Cape Cod. And, as one might expect, the residents of the Cape aren't welcoming the proposal. In fact, they have been packing themselves into town halls and school auditoriums for months to voice their disapproval. Fortnightly traveled to Boston to talk about the issues with the wind developers, then to Barnstable Town Hall on Cape Cod to get the citizens' side. The magazine tried to find out why some Cape Cod citizens are resistant to a technology that has been touted as the world's most environmentally friendly. Especially since a recent New England Independent Systems Operator report (see NEPOOL 2002-2011 Forecast Report of Capacity Energy Loads and Transmission) finds that the region is headed for 40 percent load growth over the next 20 years.
"We have become more and more dependent on natural gas. The ISO says we will have deliverability problems as near as 2003, by almost 1,750 MW. And, by 2005, that number could rise to 3,300 MW. A 420 MW project could be very useful to ensure reliability in this area," says Albert Benson, a specialist with the U.S. Department of Energy.
In addition, the Massachusetts state legislature has established a renewable portfolio standard that took effect on April 26, which sets a minimum standard by which retail electricity product sold to Massachusetts end-use customers by a retail electricity supplier shall include a minimum percentage of electricity energy sales with renewable generation attributes. The minimum will start at 1 percent in 2003, and rise to 4 percent by 2009.