Unlucky Nantucket Sound


To the Editor:

The unfortunate aspect of the Cape Wind project is that it is a good project but in the wrong place. To put the project in perspective, there are only three buildings in Boston that are taller than the 130 proposed wind towers. The circumference of the blades is almost two football fields, and the generator on top of the tower is as big as truck. Most of the wind towers people have seen are significantly smaller. These are very big, and there are many of them. The Cape Wind project will not be a smudge on the landscape. Hold your thumb on the horizon and multiply that image by at least 130 thumbs and you will realize that a significant industrial site is being developed. Cape Wind’s link to the grid will encourage even more wind power developers to hook on and build additional towers.

I am a retired chief executive officer of a large international electrical engineering company and was a leader in green power in Europe, Asia and Africa. I learned that being green also means being careful of the appearance of the places that are treasured by the community. Many of the comments that I have read seem to be hateful and aimed at a privileged few who live on Cape Cod and the Islands. Those comments are not valid. Nantucket Sound has only been a body of water for 20,000 to 30,000 years, or since the end of the last ice age. The Cape Wind project is the first time that man has proposed a major intrusion in this beautiful body of water since it was created.

The Cape Wind project will occasionally generate the same power as a moderate gas-fired power plant. The environmental impact of the Cape Wind project is massive compared to a conventional power plant. This nation needs bulk power in order to compete in the world market. Success as a nation is all about power. Wind and solar power have a place, but only nuclear and clean carbon based power can meet our national need for cheap and readily available power. The Chinese have a national program to develop nuclear and clean carbon power sources to compete successfully with the West. Conservation may be the most productive green power alternative. We, as a nation, need a rational energy policy, clearly understood and endorsed by the people, coupled with suitable protection for our national treasures.

It is ironic that the federal government announced approval at the same time that a very large group of 95 rare right whales arrived in Nantucket Sound. These creatures deserve the preservation of their habitat.

I fear that the equipment manufacturers and power developers have successfully intimidated the Obama administration to approve the Cape Wind project. Once those towers are built, they will be in Nantucket Sound for a century. During that period, other environmentally friendly power generation systems will be developed that will be far more efficient than wind power. People will be surprised when the project is complete and they see what we have done to Nantucket Sound. I had supported President Obama, but the desecration of Nantucket Sound will be his legacy.

It took the city of Boston many years to get rid of the ugly I-93 viaducts in downtown Boston and reunite the city with the construction of the Big Dig. Nantucket Sound will not be that lucky.

Charles Carlson

Newtonville, NY, and Edgartown