by Susan Torres
An aspiring grown-up who loves all things concerning the environment, media, sports, current events, traveling, absurdity and general hilarity, Susan is living in and loving New York City. Having graduated from Northeastern University last May with a bachelor's degree in journalism and minoring in political science and history, she is currently proofreading for a translation services company and doing some freelance writing work on the side.
If you haven't been to Cape Cod, Massachusetts you really should. Even this jaded New Jerseyan has to admit it's a very pretty strip of beach with clear water that allows you to see your toes. On a good day, you can see for miles in all directions. According to an article dated April 28th in The New York Times, part of what you see will include wind turbines. The article highlights how, after nine years, Cape Cod will become the home of the nation's first offshore wind farm.
My home state of New Jersey also got good renewable energy news. A solar farm was recently approved in the town of Hamilton. The power company PSE&G will install 16,000 solar arrays over 16 acres while providing clean, renewable energy. In addition, New Jersey's The Star Ledger reports that the new installation will create 60 local union jobs.
Yet many residents of these towns opposed these measures. Residents off the Nantucket shore are against the wind farm, which will stretch for 25 miles off the neighboring sound. Critics say that the new turbines will be an eyesore and ruin their view of the coast. This criticism has been the main reason it took nearly a decade to be approved. Even the late and very liberal Senator Ted Kennedy was against the proposal. Hamilton residents worry that the new solar farm will cause their property value to drop. The decision to go ahead with the solar panel farm was unpopular, even though it will provide jobs at a time when they are needed all over the country.
Both of these developments will give local residents access to clean, renewable energy in places where energy costs run high. According to The New York Times article cited above, the Cape Cod Wind Farm "is expected to give a significant boost to the nascent offshore wind industry in the United States, which has lagged far behind Europe and China in harnessing the strong and steady power of ocean breezes to electrify homes and businesses."
It seems that lawmakers and major corporations are finally giving Americans what they've been asking for: Clean, renewable energy produced in their own country. But these stories show how hard it is to make everyone happy. Even in Massachusetts, where a couple years ago Boston’s Mayor Thomas M. Menino signed one of the leading bills on energy requirements for new housing, people are unsatisfied with a proposal to bring clean energy to the state. Environmental problems are hard to solve because one new technology and one solution won't fix global warming or clean our air and water. There will have to be multiple solutions from all over the country.
This means some people will be dissatisfied in the short term. Long term, however, everyone will benefit from cleaner air and an increase in local jobs. Soon the residents of Nantucket will get used to the wind turbines and fail to notice them. Hamilton residents will apply for jobs installing solar panels and enjoy the benefits of a never-ending energy source. Until that happens, we should support the lawmakers and politicians who advocated for these measures, even if they become a little unpopular right now.
Image courtesy of DomesticFuel.com