By Emily Kirkland
On February 28, more than 350 people gathered on Boston Common for a rally to save Cape Wind organized by the Cambridge-based climate advocacy group Better Future Project. Attendees planted 130 beautiful rainbow pinwheels in the snow to symbolize the 130 turbines of Cape Wind. The rally earned coverage from The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, WGBH, CommonWealth Magazine, MetroWest Daily News, Fox25 News, The Associated Press, and other outlets. 10 organizations, including Clean Water Action, Mothers Out Front, and Environment Massachusetts, joined the effort as sponsors, endorsers or partners. Thanks to a national push from CREDO Action, 98,000 people -- and counting -- have now signed one of two petition to National Grid calling on them to save Cape Wind, here and here.
The campaign to save Cape Wind has been a long shot from the beginning. But there's too much at stake to allow the project to go down without a fight. The 130 turbines proposed for Horseshoe Shoal would provide enough power to meet 75% of demand on the Cape and the Islands, keeping 734,000 tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere each year — the equivalent of taking 175,000 cars off the road. The project would also generate 600-1,000 jobs. Most importantly, it would kick-start the development of New England's offshore wind industry. For us to reach 100% renewable power, we will need to get more than 50% of our electricity from offshore wind. Cape Wind is a vital first step.
It's too early to say whether or not Cape Wind still has a chance. But no matter what, the mobilization to save Cape Wind has provided a much-needed show of support for renewable energy at a critical moment. Massachusetts is at a crossroads: with new fossil fuel pipelines and plants proposed all over the state, we need to decide whether we'll be doubling down on coal, oil and gas or transitioning to a clean energy economy. Citizens are uniting to demand a future powered by wind turbines, not gas pipelines. We have a long road ahead, but the last few weeks have made me more confident than ever that we can win.
Emily Kirkland is Communications Coordinator of the Better Future Project.