Off-shore Wind War

Timlynn Babitsky | Books,Case studies,Issues: Strategies & Tactics,NIMBY,Resources | Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

by Timlynn Babitsky
The war over off-shore wind power in the US may soon be over! The first large-scale US off-shore wind project has been stalled for nearly eight years by a very rich and famous NIMBY campaign of resistors. Yet despite every effort to kill the Cape Wind project, it may be just months away from finally starting construction.

The Cape Wind project plans to place 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound, south of Cape Cod. An untiring handful of grassroots organizers have waged a mighty battle with Cape Cod property owners, heiresses, billionaires, well-funded and well-organized opposition lobbying, and the likes of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Senator Edward M. Kennedy. But, David may yet defeat these Goliaths. In a few months The Cape Wind project expects to get authorization to begin construction.

The incredible case history of the early days of this project is documented in the book Cape Wind by Wendy Williams and Robert Whitcomb. It is a classic case study of how even the most powerful resistance can be overcome with dogged research (doing your homework!), developing a wide network of supporters and allies, and frankly (when dealing with a whole gaggle of the rich and VERY powerful) – a whole lot of money.

There is much to be learned from the Cape Wind project. It is important to note here that the size of this project and the wealth of the resistors made this battle an expensive one. But aside from the costs unique to this particular project, the strategies and tactics used by these grassroots activists have some major lessons for all wind activists and advocates.

Click here for an update on the Cape Wind project and on the trends in US off-shore wind power projects in general.

For information on the evolution of what started out as a grassroots campaign and is now a major agenda, visit the Clean Power Now website.