Library filed under Impact on Views from Massachusetts
Could the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm become obsolete before it is even built? ...technological advances in recent years are allowing developers elsewhere to consider building wind turbines farther from shore, where they would be less visible. ...If these and similar projects prove viable, some wind energy specialists and developers say, they could leapfrog closer-to-shore projects like Cape Wind.
The state plans to protect over 700 acres of ridge line in the Hoosac Mountain range from any future development, including wind turbines, as the Berkshire Natural Resources Council continues to create a corridor of land connecting the Florida and Savoy Mountain state forests. Part of the plan calls for a major hiking trail for North Berkshire.
The region is also recognized as the heart of a long-running and contentious debate over whether the country's first offshore wind farm should be built in Nantucket Sound. Now, the lead federal agency to review the proposal by Cape Wind Associates to build 130 wind turbines in the Sound has found that the project would have an "adverse effect" on the view from 28 historic properties as well as the ceremonial practices and traditional cultural sites of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.
This 292-foot wind turbine recently erected in Newburyport, MA is located just 319-feet from the public pedestrian rail trail, 350-feet from heavily-traveled U.S. Route 1 (in the foreground), and 800-feet from the nearest residence. See: http://www.windaction.org/faqs/18868 for information on potential safety risks.
This photo of the Newburyport wind turbine (292-feet tall) was taken from at the rear property line of a nearby residence. The residents in the area have expressed their concerns to the city about noise, flicker, ice throws and other safety issues.
The "simulated images" of the wind farm project contained on Cape Wind's Web site show how the turbine forest might look to the casual observer driving by. ...Cape Wind is riding the "clean energy" bandwagon all the way to the bank, while we who live here will spend the rest of our summers staring at a colossal eyesore.
In a Dec. 17 letter, the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation notified the U.S. Minerals Management Service, the lead federal agency for permitting the proposed 130-turbine wind farm on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound, that the MMS needs to take account of historic preservation concerns linked to Cape Wind before or concurrently with issuing a record of decision on the wind farm, and not after. ...[The] council questions whether the agency has completed key aspects of that process, such as documenting to the Massachusetts state historic preservation officer its findings on the area of potential effects on historic properties posed by the wind farm.
The Ocean State recently granted a New Jersey-based renewable energy firm the right to build an industrial-size wind farm about 20 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. DeepwaterWind CEO Chris Brown told the Associated Press his firm builds turbines on large platforms originally designed for offshore drilling rigs, which means they can operate in deep waters and out of sight of land. He expects to build around 100 turbines offshore. "What we've really focused on is that we want to be beyond the horizon," Brown said. "We don't think that you have to choose between...the view and the environment."
The 262-foot turbine located at Holy Name Central Catholic Junior Senior High School towers over all structures in the area.
Balloons were flown in Newburyport, MA to demonstrate the height of the proposed industrial wind turbine. Two balloons on a single tether were flown to show the height of the tower and the overall height including the structure including the blades. The balloons are white and difficult to distinguish against the white clouds. The height of the proposed turbine, 300-feet, far exceeds the height of all other objects in the area.
Often, the visual impact of 130 wind turbines as tall as the Statue of Liberty in the middle of Nantucket Sound is presented as a clash of aesthetic sensitivity vs. alternative energy reality. But the National Trust for Historic Preservation has reminded the U.S. Minerals Management Service that real laws and mandates exist, and it says MMS is not going by the book in its evaluation of the Cape Wind project. ...Nobody, the National Trust included, expects that the views at the Kennedy Compound or the Nantucket historic downtown will remain forever unaltered. But Congress has decreed that all efforts must be made to preserve the integrity of historic sites, and the MMS must comply.
The United South and Eastern Tribes, an organization of 25 federally recognized Indian tribes in 12 states, has joined with the Wampanoag of Gay Head (Aquinnah) in their opposition to the wind factory on Nantucket Sound. The board of directors of the organization called upon the U.S. Minerals Management Service, which is reviewing the Cape Wind application, to "respect the Traditional, Cultural, Spiritual and Religious beliefs of the Wampanoag People and preserve the spiritual integrity and sanctity of the eastern horizon, vista and horizon viewshed; and to deny the permitting of such a devastatingly and destructive experiment, which will adversely affect and destroy the essence of tranquility, sanctity and spirituality of this sacred place for all time."
The three-blade turbine reaches roughly 155 feet. That includes a pole that is 120 feet high. The owners recently decided to move the project about 150 feet north toward the back of the property. That should reduce the "shadow flicker," a complaint of some neighbors, Kenney said. The rotating blades create shadows. Moving the turbine also will slightly reduce the sound ...
Mr. Cashman's attempt to sneak past the Massachusetts House of Representatives an amendment to the Ocean Sanctuaries Act as part of a recently passed energy bill shows just what kind of tactics he is willing to resort to in order to build his wind farm. This amendment would clear a major impasse for the development of large-scale industrial wind power plants along the Massachusetts coast. ...In case you are not familiar with it, the Ocean Sanctuaries Act designates approximately 85 percent of Massachusetts state waters as ocean sanctuaries. There is good reason for this. We are fortunate to live in an area of some of the most pristine waters off the coast, but it is also a very fragile ecosystem. Mr. Cashman and proponents of his project would have you believe that it would have no negative effects on the Bay. How is this even logical? First of all, the only way not to affect the Bay is to do nothing; in other words, things stay the same. I certainly can't see how a large-scale industrial power plant could be positive for the condition of the bay, and to say it would have no affect at all is ludicrous. ...This is not about spoiling the view of some rich people. It is about one rich person, Jay Cashman, and him making himself richer. This is about much more than a "NIMBY attitude." It is about preserving a natural treasure, Buzzards Bay.
But already some people are complaining about turbine's visual impact on the region's scenic landscape (Transcript story, Page 1 on Saturday). The 265-foot-high turbine can be seen clearly from many spots in Hancock, from Pontoosuc Lake in Lanesborough and Pittsfield and, we suspect, from a lot of other spots in surrounding communities. This is only one windmill. Imagine the complaints to come when turbines begin to sprout up in the 10s and 20s and hundreds, in Hancock, Florida, Monroe, Savoy and off the waters of Cape Cod - if these projects come to fruition. The wind turbines would be far taller than Jiminy's - from 350 feet to well over 400. Most would be built by out-of-state developers with substantial help from government subsidies (read taxpayers' subsidies) and would require significant tree cutting and road building, not only to get the turbines where they must be but also to connect them to the grid. The residents of Berkshire County should seriously consider if the end result would be worth it.
New computer simulations of Cape Wind provide views of how the project will look from some of the state's favorite vacation spots. Here's a view from Oak Bluffs in Martha's Vineyard.
Cape Wind's new images of its windmills -- now 23 feet taller -- provide a glimpse of what the turbines will look like from land