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With a price tag of nearly $2.5 billion, the much-maligned Cape Wind Project in Nantucket Sound should start producing clean energy by 2015. While groups such as Greenpeace, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the American Council on Renewable Energy, and the Natural Resources Defense Council have all voiced their support for the project, noted environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. along with the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound have been steadfast in their opposition. Continuing to rally the troops for this battle may prove difficult, as new studies from analysts are now saying that the project could significantly reduce electricity rates for residents of New England.

Because power plants that market power to New England’s grid operator must include fuel costs into electricity bids, Cape Wind will be able to sell 454 megawatts of power with almost zero production costs as their fuel – wind – is free. On a yearly basis, this reduced cost could result in savings of over $280 million on wholesale electricity rates for municipal utilities and at least $25 million for end-use customers buying power for their homes.

Supported by around 80 percent of Massachusetts residents, the Cape Wind Project will be 5 1/2 miles off the coast of Cape Cod and will be the first wind energy project in U.S. waters. Most opposition to the project boils down to NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) concerns, with most complainants considering wind turbines to be an eyesore. With the project expected to provide several hundred jobs, reduce greenhouse gasses, and provide clean local energy all while saving electricity consumers money on their utility bills, it looks as though the Cape Wind Project will come out a winner for residents, environmentalists, and energy operators alike.