The Obama has approved plans to build the nation's first offshore wind farm in the waters off Cape Cod, ending a nine-year legal battle. The Cape Wind project could begin generating clean electricity by 2012 — unless opponents, who say it will kill seabirds and ruin the seascape, derail it with lawsuits. The estimated cost of installing the 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound is $1 billion. Is wind power worth the price? (Watch a Fox report about wind farms)
It's wasteful not to harness the wind: "This is very, very good news," says Brian Merchant in Treehugger. It's wasteful not to tap wind power — one study found "he United States could meet every last kilowatt of its power demands if offshore wind was properly utilized." That's why Europe has already installed thousands of offshore turbines.
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Offshore wind farms are wasteful: "Slap a 'green' label on anything" and the Obama administration will go along, say the editors of the Boston Herald. But Cape Wind "will be among the most expensive sources of energy ever devised by mankind." Environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. puts the cost per kilowatt-hour at 27 cents, more than double the average cost of electricity from other sources.
This is wind power's chance to prove itself: "Cape Wind's turbines should churn out power equivalent to a medium-sized coal plant," says Clay Dillow in Popular Science. For the environment, that's like "pulling 175,000 cars off the road. If Cape Wind can... get built, it will be America's "first proving ground for large-scale offshore wind energy" and we could soon have many more, from Delaware to Texas.
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