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Coastal towns' power, promise and privilege

It is not necessary to sacrifice the privilege of Massachusetts' magnificent coastline which sustains us. In allowing the destruction of an ecological sanctuary like Nantucket Sound we will fail in our commitment to uphold the public trust placed in us to protect our coastline for future generations.

Deep-water wind energy may be farther from shore, but it is now closer to reality than many realize. Power generated from renewable, deep-water wind turbines promises all the benefits without the negative impacts of near-shore sites. This up-and-coming technology offers a far better long-term solution to our energy needs. It is not necessary to sacrifice the privilege of Massachusetts' magnificent coastline which sustains us. In allowing the destruction of an ecological sanctuary like Nantucket Sound we will fail in our commitment to uphold the public trust placed in us to protect our coastline for future generations.

Europe is the acknowledged leader in offshore wind energy and deep-water projects are already in the works there. Consider the Beatrice wind plant in Scotland. It is the flagship project for deep-water wind energy development in Europe. Two 5-megawatt demonstrator wind turbines will be installed more than 12 miles off the coast and in water depths of more than 150 feet. Compare this more advanced and less disruptive European model to Cape Wind's 24 square mile project of 130 turbines to be sited only five miles offshore and in depths of less than 40 feet in... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
Deep-water wind energy may be farther from shore, but it is now closer to reality than many realize. Power generated from renewable, deep-water wind turbines promises all the benefits without the negative impacts of near-shore sites. This up-and-coming technology offers a far better long-term solution to our energy needs. It is not necessary to sacrifice the privilege of Massachusetts' magnificent coastline which sustains us. In allowing the destruction of an ecological sanctuary like Nantucket Sound we will fail in our commitment to uphold the public trust placed in us to protect our coastline for future generations.

Europe is the acknowledged leader in offshore wind energy and deep-water projects are already in the works there. Consider the Beatrice wind plant in Scotland. It is the flagship project for deep-water wind energy development in Europe. Two 5-megawatt demonstrator wind turbines will be installed more than 12 miles off the coast and in water depths of more than 150 feet. Compare this more advanced and less disruptive European model to Cape Wind's 24 square mile project of 130 turbines to be sited only five miles offshore and in depths of less than 40 feet in the middle of Nantucket Sound. It will be the first and largest shallow water wind plant in the USA.

The Beatrice project is being closely watched for its potential to generate power without the tradeoff of destroying the landscape or endangering ocean navigation. If this demonstration project proves successful, the developers will subsequently develop a commercial wind plant of 200 units. In contrast, consider Cape Wind's plan to site all of its 130 turbines within 1 1/2 miles of heavily traveled shipping channels and ferry lanes. Our coastal communities were built upon the benefits of clear passage through Nantucket Sound. That will soon be a part of our history.

There is another heartening deep-water project under way in Norway where an energy group is planning to deploy a deep-water floating turbine in 2007. The floating windmills, tethered at three points to the seabed to keep them stable, employ anchoring technology widely used to build oil platforms. This newest of wind technologies is projected to be economical within a decade by the United States' own National Renewable Energy Lab.

Other efforts in the U.S. show the focus is shifting to offshore sites in deeper water and farther from shore. The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, General Electric and the U.S. Department of Energy have united to create the Offshore Wind Collaborative. Their goal is to further the development of offshore wind, especially remote offshore sites in deep water farther off the Northeast coast. This group recognizes that the potential for offshore wind in deep water is vast. In fact, a DOE report estimated the energy-producing potential of offshore winds in the U.S. at 907 gigawatts - an amount greater than the total current installed U.S. electrical capacity - 75 percent of which lies in deep waters that are more than 20 miles offshore.

Deep-water technology is so quickly becoming feasible that European regulators are enacting increasingly more protective siting standards to avoid the negative impacts of near-shore sites. Several European countries already require offshore wind plants to be at least 12 miles from shore. Sites under consideration for development in the United Kingdom for commercial operation after 2010 will be more than 12 miles offshore.

Other countries, such as the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, have opted to develop future utility-scale wind plants at such a distance that they are not visible from shore.

Ironically, developments in oil and gas have helped make far-offshore wind energy possible. The oil and gas industry in the U.S. has decades of experience in building and operating large structures at sea and has deployed thousands of offshore oil platforms.

Investing in clean energy is not synonymous with supporting inappropriate wind technology proposals such as the one planned for Nantucket Sound. Generation of power from deep-water wind as well as solar, biomass, geothermal, hydrogen and fuel cell technologies are cutting-edge alternatives. A greater commitment to developing advanced vehicles and fuels, recycling and user-friendly conservation measures are a more productive investment of our time and tax dollars and will not require the sacrifice of any coastline. Those of us living on and appreciating the Massachusetts coast should not be quick to violate the public trust placed in us today to protect the privilege and sanctity of our ecologically rich and open coastline, upon which countless living creatures have depended and thrived for generations.

Audra Parker is assistant director of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound.



Source: http://www2.townonline.com/...

MAR 31 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/1950-coastal-towns-power-promise-and-privilege
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