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Pretty_Lilly's avatar

Why would anyone oppose an offshore Wind Farm ?

Asked by Pretty_Lilly (4652points) April 29th, 2010

Environmentalist are all up in arms about the recently approved construction of an offshore Wind Farm, 13 miles from Nantucket Island.
{The tip of the highest blade of each turbine would reach 440 feet above the water.}
They plan on fighting construction,tooth and nail.
I understand environmentalists being against nuclear power plants and offshore drilling but why wind farms ?? Are they concerned there might be leakage and it might pollute the coast line ?
*So where do they propose,we get our energy,,,, out of their butts ??

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13 Answers

KatawaGrey's avatar

My guess would be that an offshore wind farm would disrupt the natural habitats of animals living in and around the water. Also, the actual construction might indeed cause some harm to the environment.

TexasDude's avatar

It would probably be impossible to please the folks that are protesting this. Even if the wind farm had zero ecological impact, there would be somebody bitching about it somewhere

Lve's avatar

There are many reasons why people oppose it, even environmentalists. Here’s what I found:
“Cape Wind will also be the first industrial scale wind power plant in the middle of an ocean sanctuary, in the middle of a candidate National Marine Sanctuary site, in a site eligible for listing on the National Register, in a Native American ‘sacred’ site, and in a federally designated critical fisheries habitat,” said Delahunt. “It’s the first wind farm in the Atlantic flyway; a major pathway for migratory birds and an important seabird habitat.”

you can read the full article here: http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/apr2010/2010-04-28-01.html

Taciturnu's avatar

@Pretty_Lilly Are you from the Cape??

This has been a long fought over debate. Some say it will hurt the tourist industry that we rely on so heavily (I kinda think they’re onto something) , and because the waters around it would be off-limits to boats and fishermen (the other industry we rely on to sustain our local economy). As @KatawaGrey mentioned, it also disrupt the habitat.

Do I want more wind power? Absolutely. The Cape Cod Community College wanted a turbine to help supply the school with clean energy and was denied. The town cited that it was in the historic district as its reason. That is outrageous.

EDIT: I just remembered that the Wompanoag tribe also has an ancient burial site in those waters, and that the unobstructed view of the Sound is also an important aspect of their spiritual practices.

Thanks for the link, @Lve.

lilikoi's avatar

@Pretty_Lilly

When you install something in the middle of the ocean, a highly corrosive environment, it can be very expensive. People can barely maintain wind farms on coastal land. Putting them in the ocean just sounds like a maintenance disaster.

Depending on how far off-shore we’re talking about, there could be viewplane implications, it could be competing with other coastal uses like subsistence fishing or canoe paddling, for example.

And if it is a National Marine Sanctuary, critical fisheries habitat, seabird habitat and major pathway of migratory birds as @Lve points out, the reasons should really be ridiculously apparent. Wind mills kill birds. Putting them in the path of bird migration is just idiocy. An off coast wind farm is a major construction project that would introduce massive amounts of noise to the sanctuary no doubt.

Allowing a project like this to move forward in an area that contains a wealth of resources already would be like building hotels on fertile agricultural lands. Counter productive, short-sighted, hypocriticala decision likely driven by profit motive rather than honest environmental concern.

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard It sounds like there is legitimate concern here. I think all alternative energy technologies are premature. It’s easy to get behind rolling out solar panels on existing rooftops in tropical climates because the impact is obviously outweighed by benefits. With windmills in this situation, the impacts outweigh the benefits. Better to allow technology to develop further than to decimate a sanctuary to provide non-oil-based energy (I would not call it “clean”) when we don’t really need it. Rather than consume pristine environments, we should install wind farms on brownfields. God knows our military leaves a thick trail of those behind them.

@Taciturnu I think historic district can be a legitimate claim. Having worked in the building industry with a multitude of architects, and even architects that specialize in historic buildings, I have come to deeply appreciate historic buildings and districts. They contain a wealth of history, relics, buildings that could never be built today due to modern codes on the books, character that cannot be recreated. I think the pros and cons should be vetted on a case by case basis, and since it was determined a no-go in that case, they could look to doing other things.

DominicX's avatar

Can’t have coal power because it pollutes the air. Can’t have nuclear power because of toxic waste. Can’t have wind power because it kills birds. Can’t have water power because it kills fish.

Solar power just isn’t enough, people. Of course there’s probably some problem with that too.

:)

lilikoi's avatar

^ Yes, but it could be if we spent more money on research in that arena rather than subsidizing research for oil and coal. And in this case, it is not just about killing birds. Yes, the problem with solar is that it requires the use of highly pure substances. If they could get around that obstacle, the cost of panels would drop drastically.

bongo's avatar

The drilling and general noise that comes with both the construction and maintenance of wind farms can hugely disrupt local cetacean species and other species of fish that may use noise for communication.
I am a marine biologist who is definately all for wind power, and offshore tends to be more effective with more constant, stronger winds, also the turbines themselves provide hard substrate to allow reefs to develop and increase the biodiversity of an area long term. I have even heard of areas which where they have deconstructed wind farms have left the base section in as the marine life on it was so diverse. This, however, can be a problem for boats and therefore should be maked out with buoys

Taciturnu's avatar

@lilikoi I’m with you 100%, except that most of the Cape is historic, and the other parts are geared for tourists. (With a few places in between.) The turbine in this case would be barely detectable from 6A, a historic route.

That doesn’t mean the Cape and Islands shouldn’t be progressive with alternative energy sources.

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

@DominicX Of course Solar Power is bad,it will create undue stress on the sun and might wear it out ! We need to protect the Sun from being exploited !

arpinum's avatar

Cost per Megawatt-hour is around $120 for the wind turbine project, roughly double the market price in the area. That is why the project is getting massive subsidies, in the neighborhood of $300–600 Million.
If you wanted to be an eco-crusader, I’m sure the money could be better spent elsewhere.

Provlear's avatar

We haven’t yet come to a conclusion whether wind farms on land are ecologically damaging, so putting one in the middle of the far more fragile ocean environment will certainly raise some hackles.

mattbrowne's avatar

There are no silver bullets whatever we do trying to keep civilization going in a sustainable way. The goal should be minimizing risks and damage. But exploring new approaches gives us better data evaluating the potential. Offshore wind farms are worth exploring. Just 3 days ago a huge one opened in the North Sea:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_Ventus_Offshore_Wind_Farm

Some of the concerns include the impact on wild life for example birds. Other examples are mentioned above.

Cost per megawatt-hour calculations should not be done in a short-sighted way, because there are always economies of scale and the fossil fuel and nuclear industry loves to keep their hidden costs quiet. Polluting the environment has often been for free while in fact it’s not. Looking at the upcoming damage done to the Gulf of Mexico the whole thing is far worse.

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