Not A NIMBY Issue – Enterprise Letter to the Editor (Bruce Buch)

Falmouth Enterprise Letter to the Editor on 2/3/23:

I’m disheartened to see the Mayflower Wind issue getting tainted with the NIMBY label, although Mayflower is probably delighted, since it feeds into the notion that a wind power project that most everyone agrees we need can’t go forward without going through someone’s neighborhood, while in fact an alternative exists that would go through no one’s neighborhood.

The alternative: instead of onshoring and running transmission lines through a densely populated residential area, Mayflower could route the lines up Buzzards Bay and the canal to the existing Canal Generating Plant site in Sandwich. This site is well-situated for onshoring, accommodating electric utility gear and connecting to the grid. Moreover, the energy company that owns the Sandwich power station has said it wants to use that site for connecting offshore wind power to the grid.

Yes, this would add about 27 miles of expensive undersea cable to the 49 miles it would take to onshore in Falmouth. But the total run would still be over 10 miles shorter than the undersea Brayton Point Cable, a product of Mayflower’s own planning. The added expense would be at least partially offset by all the subterranean and overland routing obviated by onshoring to a site right on the canal.

With no obvious technical obstacle to this alternative, it seems the only reason Mayflower continues to seek onshoring through Falmouth is to hit an earlier break-even point on their investment. Mayflower investors may benefit from their plan, but the cost of their plan gets paid by the residents of Falmouth in lost property values, lost rental income, disruption and permanent disfigurement of our town.

Like most residents of all neighborhoods in Falmouth, I support development of renewable energy and want to see this wind farm succeed. But these developments need to be done with a sense of corporate responsibility, and common decency and respect for the communities they will serve.

So let’s be clear about this. This is not a NIMBY issue, but rather plainly and simply a MONEY issue. This wind power project can, and should, continue without going through anyone’s neighborhood when a viable alternative exists. It’s simply wrong to impose sacrifices on our town and its residents just to help the profit margin of a foreign company.

Bruce Buch
Grand Avenue