Cape Cod Wind Farm
Renewable Energy Resources
America's love of seascapes extends far beyond the canvas recreations of artists such as Winslow Homer.
Depending on the particular viewpoint, this close to universal love of seascapes expresses its real life preferences in a variety of ways. Coastal dining in many areas along the Texas and Louisiana coast, for example, come complete with views of off shore oil rigs highlighted against a setting sun.
The decade long debate about the Cape Cod seascape recently came to a conclusion when the federal government gave the go ahead for the country's first offshore wind farm in the Nantucket Sound.
Wind farm opponents commonly employed a collection of NIMBY, cost and environmental concerns as the basis for their opposition to the project.
As planned, the wind farm would be situated five miles off the coast. Area residents balked at the idea of placing a large man-made object in a place that would obstruct their view of the horizon.
Still more residents cited construction costs, along with the potential ecosystem problems associated with placing a wind farm in the midst of a prime commercial fishing and birding area, as the basis of their opposition.
Proponents cited the state's need for more renewable energy resources in order to address both climate change issues and their dependence on foreign energy sources.
The availability of proven turbine technology along with a discounted view of its environmental impact also anchored the wind farm proponents' position. Massachusetts Audubon's support for the project, along with its suggestions on design alterations to minimize risks to birds, helped deflate most of the opponents environmental concerns.
As planned, the proposed project aims to place 130 large wind turbines directly into the seabed. The wind farm's combined electricity generation capacity is estimated to be 454 megawatts, with an average electricity generating capacity reaching approximately 75% of the area's electricity needs.
Project construction is set to begin as soon as the final financing details get ironed out. No doubt artists of the future will celebrate the turbines of the sea in much the same way past masters celebrated the sea's sailing ships.
© 2011. Patricia A. Michaels