Fox Radio and NY1 Give Voice to Cape Wind Power Struggle
Posted on June 15, 2013
When "Cape Spin! An American Power Struggle" screened at Lincoln Center in May, hundreds saw the film and participated in post-film discussions in which director John Kirby, executive producer Libby Handros, and I fielded questions about the 13-year political battle over the proposed Cape Wind project, slated to be America's first offshore wind farm. That same week, Fox News Radio and NY1 TV News interviewed us about the film.
On NY1 TV News, film director John Kirby described Cape Spin! as "an energy satire" that pits petroleum magnate Bill Koch, arch-enemy of the offshore wind farm, against Cape Wind developer Jim Gordon, whose own history has included the development of natural gas power plants in Massachusetts. I addressed the Kennedy family's ardent opposition to Cape Wind, guided by a shortsighted determination to protect the distant ocean view from their family vacation compound in Hyannis Port. I described my own visit to a Danish coastal vacation town that has a wind farm the same distance from its shoreline: about 5 miles. There, I found the wire stays, ropes, and masts of the many sailboats tied up to mooring posts in Nysted harbor much more distracting than the pencil-thin turbines way off in the haze at sea.
John spoke about "democratic, distributed renewable power" as a "third way" that can help us meet public power needs through smaller-scale, localized wind farms and solar arrays. Yet he acknowledged, as I did in many of our post-film discussions, that larger, utility-scale wind farms will also be needed to bring us successfully through the transition to a cleaner energy future. With that future in mind, I referred to Denmark's national energy plan as an inspiring model: a western democracy that has dared to think beyond the next electoral cycle in charting a course away from carbon-based fuels. By 2050, Denmark expects to be 100% free of fossil fuels for all energy uses, a goal that will call for about 80% of the country's electricity to come from wind.
On Fox News Radio, Libby Handros spoke about the $70 million spent on the Cape Wind battle, questioning whether this heavily bankrolled struggle reflects the democratic process at work or is simply a war of attrition between "Astroturf" groups funded by powerful players on both sides. I reassured listeners that wind power has moved forward with far fewer obstacles in many parts of America, with Iowa now getting a quarter of its power from wind and 6 percent of our installed generating capacity nationwide based on wind. I called for a 21st century visual aesthetic that reflects wind power's importance in weaning us off much more damaging technologies like the coal plants that have contributed so hugely to our greenhouse gas emissions and have destroyed so many Appalachian mountaintops.
John, Libby, and I will continue our dialogue over the summer, at Cape Spin! screenings on the New England coast and islands. Stay tuned....