The wind between Cape Cod and Nantucket blows almost constantly, so the idea of an offshore wind farm in that region makes perfect sense. The government finally acknowledged as much Wednesday, clearing the way — after nine years of regulatory review — for a $2 billion project that will provide clean, renewable electric power for the Cape, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
The decision was long overdue, and while it probably won’t bring an end to the protests, it’s the most encouraging sign to date that the project will go forward.
For someone not to want a 440-foot windmill churning away in their back yard is understandable, but the people who so lustily opposed the wind farm plan barely lived within sight of its proposed location — 5.2 miles from Hyannis and 13.8 miles from Nantucket. So from land, it would be but a speck on the horizon, and only on the clearest of days.
Who the naysayers were — some of the nation’s richest and most politically connected families, including that of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy — undoubtedly had much to do with the length of the stalemate. And Kennedy’s death last summer probably tipped the balance in favor of the plan for good. Still, despite the slight impact it will have on the vista and inconvenience it will undeniably cause boaters, including fishermen, it seems worth doing.
Not only is wind power free, clean and renewable, this project is expected to generate as much power as a medium-sized coal-fired plant. That translates into as many carbon emissions as are created by 175,000 cars. Additionally, building the farm will create an estimated 1,000 jobs. It’s hard to argue that those numbers don’t justify the small sacrifice that will be required of a relatively small segment of the Cape and Islands’ population.