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The Cape Wind Controversy

The Cape Wind Controversy

Credit: CGP Grey
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cgpgrey/4890300941
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Harnessing the wind for clean, renewable power is good. Building a wind farm in my backyard – say some wealthy residents of Nantucket Island – is bad. Cape Wind has become the poster child for NIMBYism.

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Credit: United States Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, TrueWind Solutions
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Massachusetts_wind_resource_map_50m_800.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Graph of Massachusetts's average annual wind power distribution (2007) - The Cape Wind project is located between Cape Cod, the islands of Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard [Figure2]

  • The Cape Wind Project will produce about 75% of the electricity used by Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Island.
  • When it becomes operational, electricity from wind will offset petroleum combustion. This will offset greenhouse gas production.
  • The project was approved in 2009; construction was scheduled to begin in 2013.
  • NIMBY stands for Not in My Backyard. Nimbys are people who are in favor of something, but not if it comes at some cost to them.
  • The Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership also opposes the project.

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With the link below, learn more about the Cape Wind Project. Then answer the following questions.

  1. What is the environmental upside for the Cape Wind project?
  2. What is the environmental downside for the Cape Wind project?
  3. What objections do the residents of Nantucket Sound have to the project?
  4. Why do some people think that the residents of Nantucket who oppose the project are being hypocritical?
  5. Why is the Cape Wind Project considered to be ethically robust?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: CGP Grey; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cgpgrey/4890300941; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: United States Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, TrueWind Solutions; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Massachusetts_wind_resource_map_50m_800.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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