Myth: Cape Wind would markedly reduce local air pollution and presents a solution to global warming.
Fact: Cape Wind would not make a significant contribution to the effort to reduce pollution emissions, and, in fact, could aggravate the problem by causing dirty power plants to run more often in order to be ready to generate power instantly when the wind stops blowing.
Despite the claims of some Cape Wind supporters, the Cape Wind project would not shut down local fossil fuel burning power plants. Due to the unreliable nature of wind power, back up sources of power - including fossil fuel burning plants - must always be running to compensate for the possible lack of wind. Moreover, since much of the air pollution in Southern New England originates in the Mid-West, Cape Wind would have little impact on local air quality.
At a minimum, Cape Wind used questionable data and assumptions in arriving at its claims for air quality benefits of the project. Beyond ignoring the issue of dirty back up power, Cape Wind's approach generally ignores the effect of a capped SO2 and NOx emissions system, in which neither Cape Wind nor any other new generating source would reduce emissions below the cap in the long run.
Given that less than 1% of our oil is used to generate electricity, this project would have a negligible impact on reducing oil consumption.