Some arguments pro and con were based on incomplete information. Kempton said that some interviewees questioned the motives for building wind farms in the ocean versus on land, believing that it was a way for a developer to save money on land purchases. In fact, it is more expensive to build at sea, but the wind is stronger there. Others opposed the project because they felt it was being built in "their territory"; many supporters and opponents expected an opportunity to vote on it. In fact, the project would be in federal waters and local hearings are required, but no votes will be taken.
Those in favor of the offshore wind power project pointed to the non-polluting benefits of wind power compared to coal-burning and nuclear power plants. Some mentioned successful wind-energy projects in other countries, particularly in Europe. Other supporters felt that the project would increase U.S. energy independence and security.
"At the time of our interviews in late 2003, U.S. soldiers were engaged in Iraq, and the destruction of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, was still on people's minds," Kempton notes. "Many informants saw those current events as related to oil and oil security and thus to the wind proposal even though we did not ask about these topics at all."
In analyzing public opinion about the Cape Cod Wind Project, the UD policy scientists identified several issues that they feel are missing from the current debate and merit discussion.