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The Story of the Cape Wind Debate

Wind Over Water is a documentary chronicling the debate over the Cape Wind Project, an offshore wind farm proposed for off the southern coast of Cape Cod, MA. With similar facilities spreading throughout Northern Europe, many people were excited at the prospect of the first offshore wind project ever to be proposed for American shores.

However, since its plans were revealed in November 2001, many residents of the Cape have banded together to stop the project and prevent its developers from turning the waters of Nantucket Sound into what they categorize as an industrial energy complex. With a colorful cast of characters that includes Sen. Edward Kennedy and Walter Cronkite, this story has developed into an intriguing representation of people’s attitudes toward land, energy, politics and NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard).

Supporters of the project maintain that the promise of wind energy is that it can produce clean, renewable power while helping to stem some of the 2.5 billion tons of pollution released into the atmosphere by traditional fossil fuel plants in the US. While this facet of wind energy appears appealing, its greatest liability is that exposed hilltops and shallow offshore waters, areas once immune to development, are now being sited as ideal locations for wind energy facilities.

Wind Over Water will attempt to address the question: Is the American public willing to grant the wind industry access to these lands in exchange for clean, renewable energy?

For the opposition, the main concerns are the effect the project will have on the ecology of Nantucket Sound and on the visual impact the wind farm would have on the natural state of the region, an area millions of tourists come to experience every summer. If this is the case, the residents of Cape Cod face a difficult choice: whether or not to accept this renewable energy project in the same natural environment that many scientists claim is directly threatened by pollution and rising sea levels resulting from the continued burning of traditional fossil fuels.

Wind Over Water is about the debate sparked by this new energy technology and how Cape Cod, the first US community faced with living near this new technology, has reacted.

As a growing concern over pollution, global warming and the geo-political costs of fossil fuels prompts a shift away from traditional energy sources, the Cape Wind debate might serve as the watershed case that could determine how quickly New England, perhaps even America, chooses to join the global move toward renewable wind energy.


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