Now these windmills may be coming to an ocean near you, but not without significant public debate and navigation of a "hodgepodge" of regulations, according to recent University of Delaware research.
Willett Kempton and Jeremy Firestone, in the Marine Policy Program at the UD College of Marine Studies, have been examining public reaction to the Cape Cod Wind Project, the first proposed offshore wind farm in the United States. While prior surveys show public opinion is divided over the project, Kempton and Firestone's research has uncovered some of the reasons deeply held values and beliefs about the ocean that will continue to fuel the debate, as coastal states grapple with the pros and cons of installing windmills in the sea.
The policy scientists' study, "The Offshore Wind Power Debate: Views from Cape Cod," recently was published in the journal Coastal Management. The article is co-authored by graduate students Jonathan Lilley, Tracy Rouleau and Phillip Whitaker.
The Cape Cod Wind Project, proposed in 2001 for Nantucket Sound, just outside Massachusetts state waters, would include the installation of 130 wind turbines, each 40 stories tall, that collectively would generate enough electricity for most of Cape Cod. These wind turbines would cover a 24-square-mile area of seafloor within view of the shoreline.
To better understand public opposition to, and support for, offshore wind development, Kempton, Firestone, and their graduate students intensively interviewed 24 Cape Cod residents, made on-site observations, and reviewed local press coverage of the proposed project, as well as reviewed the results of three public surveys.