Cape Wind, the planned $2.7 billion wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass., in Nantucket Sound, got the green light in April from the Interior Dept., the most important approval so far in the project’s nine-year odyssey. Even so, there’s still plenty of reason to doubt it will ever be built.
Despite the environmental merits of replacing a dirty local power plant, and a steady parade of local, state and federal approvals, the project has been besieged by a series of legal challenges backed in part by well-heeled opponents with homes in the area, such as billionaire industrialist Bill Koch.
Cape Wind has also pitted green against green, renewable energy supporters against conservationists. Some have argued the project threatens the area’s shore views, birds and sea life, most famously Robert F. Kennedy Jr., senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, from whose family compound the turbines would be visible. In the wake of the April approval, opponents immediately vowed to file new suits.
Meanwhile, there’s little opposition to a proposal to put wind turbines in Lake Erie, near Cleveland. Developers there have been careful to focus on the potential to salvage the region’s beleaguered manufacturing sector. Ohio’s plan is smaller than Cape Wind — initially five turbines compared with 130 planned in Massachusetts — and slated to be a fraction of the cost, at about $100 million…