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Cape Wind opponents plead with council to ‘reject’ wind farm plans for Nantucket Sound

The final three public hearings regarding Cape Wind’s push forward with its offshore wind farm construction plans in Nantucket Sound will be held this week in Natick, Boston and on Wednesday, May 22 at Barnstable High School. The public hearing will begin at 7:00 pm in the Knight Auditorium at 744 West Main St., Hyannis.

Audra Parker, president of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, spoke up against Cape Wind’s plans last night during the public comment section of the Barnstable Town Council Meeting, citing huge jumps in the future cost of electricity to local homeowners, businesses and municipalities and offered that for the Town of Barnstable alone the initial annual increase in utility bills would be “$40,000” but by the “15th year of the contract (between NStar and Cape Wind),” the increase would rise to an estimated “$75,000.”

In total, she estimated that the annual increased cost of power to Massachusetts consumers would be in the vicinity of $1.3 billion, with small businesses like local restaurants seeing their electric bills jump as high as $2,200 per month.

“We can’t afford to pay more,” Parker said.

According to Cape Wind’s web site, Parker’s numbers weren’t much, if at all, different. But what Cape Wind does claim is that its wind farm will provide cleaner energy, more jobs and “increased energy independence.”

“Finally,” the web site reads, “Cape Wind is within sight of the ‘finish line’ but we need our supporters to make their voices heard this one last time at the final set of public hearings to make Massachusetts home to the nation’s first offshore wind farm and get the jobs, increased energy independence, and cleaner air that it will bring.”

Cape Wind concedes that its proposed 25-square miles of 440-foot tall turbines will bring approximately 50 full-time jobs to the region and in its construction face, up to 1,000 short-term jobs. In spite of Parker’s pleas to the town council Thursday night during the council’s public comment section, none of the councillors took the opportunity to voice their opinions on the subject.

West Barnstable resident Mary Loughnane was the sole other person aside from Parker who spoke out against Cape Wind’s plans. None spoke in favor of the plans.

“When you really look at the comparisons,” she said, “it’s frightening.”

Matt Weir, a Woodland Avenue Hyannis resident who lives directly next to the wind turbine located at Country Gardens on West Main Street spoke up about wind turbines in general, citing that the noise keeps him awake every night.

“I hear it day and night,” Weir said and characterized Cape Wind’s plans as a “scam.”

“Cape Wind is a private developer seeking to build an industrial scale offshore wind power plant on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound.

Covering 25 square miles, an area the size of Manhattan, the plant would consist of 130 wind turbines, each standing 440′ tall – significantly larger than the Statue of Liberty (305′) and the Cape Cod Canal bridges (275′). The plant would also include a 10-story electrical service platform, holding 40,000 gallons of transformer oil and 1000 gallons of diesel fuel, with a helicopter pad on top,” according to the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound’s web site.