Take the Economic Benefit

Falmouth Enterprise Editorial, reprinted in its entirety, with permission.

A letter writer last week who feels the proposed Nantucket wind farm is being pushed upon her thought it was callous that anyone would see the economic benefi t the project might provide for Falmouth. We understand that not everyone likes the idea of wind turbines in Nantucket Sound; but isn’t it reasonable to appreciate the silver lining to what they perceive to be a dark cloud on the horizon?

There can be no doubt that Cape Wind will receive permission to construct turbines in the Sound. It has its opponents, and there will be lawsuits, but most people support it. Most people understand that development of wind energy is crucial to mitigating climate change, and the Cape Wind project will pave the way for wind projects to come. It is only a matter of time before work begins in Nantucket Sound.

Mark Rodgers, communications director for Cape Wind, said the energy company has started planning for its land-based operations. It will need slips for maintenance vessels, which could mean welcome revenue for the town. It will need office and shop space. It will also hire some 50 workers, which is a signifi cant number of jobs. Mr. Rodgers points to incidental economic benefits, such as a boost to tourism as visitors come to see the erected turbines and growth of other renewable energy projects. That might be overly optimistic, but it doesn’t hurt to hope for the best. The added value of whatever economic benefit comes to Falmouth from the wind project is that it requires no additional infrastructure and would enhance the town’s maritime industry.

We aren’t certain that wind turbines will be a tourist attraction, but we are sure that an active waterfront is. Wind power is coming to Cape Cod. The Air Force is erecting a 1.5-megawatt turbine near Cataumet and there are plans to erect 17 more on the base in the future. Woods Hole Research Center recently installed a 100-kilowatt machine. Before long Cape Wind will erect 130 more. Not everyone is happy about it, but it will be better to accept the changing landscape and appreciate any of the benefi ts that come with it.