Wind power for New England?


An article from the New York Times (magazine) over the weekend details a plan to put windmills (130 of them 161 feet tall and spaced 1/3-1/2 mile apart) just off the coast in Nantucket Sound.

Despite the potential for supplying nearly 2% of the power for New England's current needs with no polution, local "environmentalists" have raised the classic NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) over the project.

With so many celebrities having residences or cottages in the areas around Martha's Vinyard and Nantucket, there is appreciable noise by notables such as Walter Cronkite about the project.

Interestingly, this puts them at odds with organizations such as GreenPeace, who think that preserving the environment from fossil fuels is more important than preserving the view.

The article spends a lot of time discussing the problems of wind power in the US and in particular the cocophony of NIMBY philosphy from people who otherwise indicate that they are environmentalists. A large portion of the problem is the fact that the closer to the power grid you are, the more efficient the transmission of the power and the fewer new power lines you must erect to get the clean power into the homes and businesses that need it.

So far, most of the wind power in the US is isolated to places that are difficult to get to, but that defies the opportunities that exist in the off- shore regions, since there are constant wind forces along many coastal areas. However, these areas are also pricey homesites and if the rich folk don't want their views "marred" by "unsightly" windmills, they may need to look elsewhere for power.

Hey, maybe they'd like a nice nuclear plant? Or a coal mine? Or, I tell you what, let's put the windmills somewhere that there are a lot of poor people and we'll just stick a nice prison on Nantucket...