As of today, residents of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket can look forward to getting most of their energy without the risk of acid rain, asthma, or oil spills, and without contributing to the global climate crisis. The US Department of Interior has removed the final hurdle to Cape Wind, the nation’s first offshore wind farm — and a project that Greenpeace has supported and campaigned on for nearly a decade.
Soon, work will begin to erect 130 turbines that will supply 75% (420 megawatts) of the energy used by homes and businesses on the Cape and Islands. Along the way, hundreds of jobs will be created.
Over the years, Cape Wind has been subject to seemingly endless reviews, and has been the target of intense political opposition by some very wealthy and powerful players. But throughout the tough process, the project enjoyed broad support from across Massachusetts (more than 80% of New Englanders want to see Cape Wind built) and fierce support from the local community.
Clean energy revolution in sight, leadership needed
This final go-ahead for America's first offshore wind farm is another victory for supporters of the wind industry, which grew by 40% last year alone, and already employs more people than the coal industry. With other renewable energy sources like solar also growing quickly (the US solar market is expected to grow by 50% this year), we're beginning to witness what could, with the right leadership from Washington DC, be a real clean energy revolution.
The victory also serves as a contrast to the recent grim news from across the fossil fuel industry. Over the last month, multiple tragedies have struck the coal and oil industries, with dozens of lives lost to accidents and a slick in the Gulf of Mexico that is larger than the state of West Virginia. Kert Davies, Research Director at Greenpeace and a longtime activist on the Cape Wind project, noted to the press:
"There could be no clearer direction for America's energy future and global warming leadership, and Greenpeace is calling upon President Obama to think twice about his recently announced plans to open the door to more risky offshore drilling and to prioritize renewable energy projects like Cape Wind instead."
In the end, the commitment of the people of Massachusetts to their families' health and the safety of the planet was enough to overcome the rich and powerful special interests that were trying to kill Cape Wind. Greenpeace was proud to fight alongside them. As we celebrate this victory and mourn the loss of innocent lives and ecosystems to the coal and oil industries, we should all remember that no matter how bad things get, we must keep fighting.