The War Over Offshore Wind Is Almost Over

BUSINESS WEEK:  Wind farms are springing up in Midwestern fields, along Appalachian ridgelines, and even in Texas backyards. They're everywhere, it seems, except in the windy coastal waters that lap at some of America's largest, most power-hungry cities. That's partly because the first large-scale effort to harness sea breezes in the U.S. hit resistance from an army led by the rich and famous, waging a not-on-my-beach campaign. For almost eight years the critics have stalled the project, called Cape Wind, which aims to place 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound about five miles south of Cape Cod. Yet surprisingly, Cape Wind has largely defeated the big guns. In a few months it may get authorization to begin construction. Meanwhile, a string of other offshore wind projects is starting up on the Eastern Seaboard, in the Gulf of Mexico, and in the Great Lakes.

Much of the credit—or blame—for this activity goes to Jim Gordon, the man who launched Cape Wind in 2000. His goal is to provide up to 75% of the electric power on Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard by tapping the region's primary renewable resource: strong and steady offshore breezes. He has methodically responded to every objection from Cape Cod property owners and sometime-vacationers...

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