Jim Gordon’s initial accomplishment in proposing a wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod was unintended: He managed to unite Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the liberal lion of the Senate, with William Koch, the conservative petroleum and coal magnate and GOP fundraiser. Both opposed Cape Wind, the plan to put 130 giant wind turbines six miles off land in Nantucket Sound.
Ten years later, Gordon is on the verge of starting construction on the nation’s first offshore wind farm. His plans have survived a regulatory gauntlet that included reviews by 17 government agencies, court challenges, and bitter public squabbles with opponents — funded in large part by Koch.
But just as he is poised to plant the first turbine, with blades reaching 440 feet above the water, the renewable energy industry has been shaken. The U.S. Congress has not renewed the chief tax incentive that has fueled development of wind power, and natural gas prices have plummeted, undercutting renewable prices.