Top of Mind: Jim Gordon, Extended Version

By James Burnett | Boston Magazine |

JB: Let’s assume that you get the final go-ahead (the record of decision). The financing is tough in this economy—is this something you think about?

JG: We are well aware of the financial climate. We believe that the credit markets are going to come back. We’re highly confident that we’re going to be able to successfully finance and build this project. And obviously there are significant policy objectives that are helping to move renewable energy projects into the grid….

JB: And if this doesn’t pass? Do you think about that?

JG: Of course, we’ve invested a lot of our careers and significant years in this project and significant amounts of resources. A lot of money—many many many many many many many many many many many many many millions of dollars.

But when I visit Cape Cod and look out on the horizon now, I see these small specks on the horizon. I can just see them gracefully spinning, quietly.

JB: So, in your mind’s eye, this is going to happen?

JG: Yes.

JB:
You mentioned you spend some time not always working. What do you do?

JG: I like to play tennis. I like to hit the gym a few times a week. Most of all I enjoy spending time with my children. I have two daughters (ages three and six), and I have a 21-year-old son. My wife and kids give me great satisfaction. I go to a lot of films—I’ve been going to a lot of children’s films lately. I just like to relax when I get the chance.

JB:
I’m sure that doesn’t happen too often.

JG: I think I’m able to balance my life pretty well.

JB:
Because that would be the risk with something this big, for it to become all-consuming.

JG:
That’s something I’ve tried to guard against. There are moments when you’re pulled into the thick of things. The pace of the development…there’s a lot of waiting for things: responses and reports. So it comes in fits and starts and stops.

JB:
I use words like "thick skin" and "determination." But I guess patience has also been a requirement?

JG:
Patience has been a major requirement. We’ve crawled and walked. We’ve evolved over 35 years. …But I think we literally are inches from the goal line.

JB: How do you plan to celebrate if you cross that goal line?

JG:
I think a lot of people will celebrate once this project is up and running. Even those opponents that have invested a lot in opposing this project, I think once they see that a lot of their concerns and fears haven’t materialized, even they will embrace and be proud of it.

JB: So you won’t be popping champagne when you receive the final word from Washington?

JG:
Oh, we’ll do some of that. But I think the celebration will be walking out on the beach that my dad used to take me to and just looking out on the horizon and hoping that it’s a clear day so I can see it in the first place. That will be just an incredible moment, an indescribable moment.

  • Cliff

    This feel good story is missing the ugly truth. Majority of Cape and Islands is against. The Wampanoag Tribes have filed a Federal objection to protect their burial grounds. The FAA has issued a PRESUMED HAZARD on the project. Mass Historical objects. USCG has told the Mass Fisherman’s Partnership they will be kicked out once the industrial plant is built. The MMS report states that this electricity will cost twice what we pay to produce, and that is after the $70,000,000 plus in federal and state tax subsidies. There is a 40,000 gallon, ten story transformer filled with toxic oil in the middle of this project. Cape Winds OIL SPILL ANALYSIS states that there is greater than 90% chance the Cape and Islands will get hit with an oil spill in the event of a rupture. The Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce is against the project. The Town of Barnstable and the Cape Cod Commission are suing the State to stop this project. Only 5 miles off the beaches, it is the size of the island of Manhattan New

  • Cliff

    This project will endanger millions of passengers a year that pass through these foggy waterways and air routes. The NPVA, Steamship Authority and Hy-line Cruise lines object to this project being placed in the middle of three shipping channels. The 3 airports filed appeals with the FAA to protect the 400,000 flights a year in this airspace. The FAA has confirmed radar interference and issued a “Presumed Hazard”. In the 8 years that this highly conflicted site has been fought, new technologies such as Facebook, Twitter and deep water floating wind platforms have been invented. Just like the Hindenburg, once considered the future of air travel, Cape Wind’s technology is already a dinosaur. Nantucket Sound, our beaches are the heart and soul, the economic engine that is what makes the Cape and Islands such a unique place to get away from the industrialized world we live in. It is not the place to build a 44 story, 24 square mile industrial plant. The millions of dollars this private d

  • Hans

    Good interview and a very human angle to a story that needs to be told. Let the naysayers keep talking. It is just a great pity that these folks never have learned to listen.

  • Soren

    My response to Cliff on his long comments of untrue statements shall be some facts from an off shore wind farm in another part of the world with very similar geographical conditions as Cape Cod and Nantucket Sound.
    Only 1.3 miles from Copenhagen in Denmark a 20 turbine wind farm producing 40 MW or 90 million KWh/yr has been in operation since 2000. It is close to a very busy shipping strait between Denmark and Sweden and within a few miles from Copenhagen's large international airport. The wind mills sits in 10 to 16 ft of water providing 3 % of the electricity for Copenhagen. Today more than 6,000 wind turbines in Denmark provide 20% of the energy expected to rise to 50% in 2030.
    Denmark has 5.5 million people similar to MA and is 16.500 sqmiles (MA is 8,300 sqm) Denmarks coastline is 1,000 miles (compared to 200 miles for MA.) and most of it is used for recreational use (a lot of sailing) and tourism. The country is flat and with similar vegetation and soil as Cape Cod.
    Two more

  • Soren

    Two more off shore wind farms are also in operation and three more are being planned. Denmark today gets 20% of electrical energy from windmills, 6,000 plus of them. In 2030 the wind mills are expected to cover 50%. Europe has installed 65% of worlds MW wind turbines. United States 15%. Wind technology is growing with 30%/yr
    So to all people in Cape Cod and the rest of MA wind turbine technology as alternative energy is growing and growing and growing and the way to go. Make a trip to Denmark and see for yourself

  • Peter

    The area Cape Wind wants to use is the center of Nantucket Sound. Boaters do not avoid it, they crowd into it. And, the ferries often tack into these waters in bad weather to avoid being broadside to wind and waves. Both the steamship Auithority and the private ferry operator oppose this project for safety reasons. Tell the truth, Jim.