The Offshore Wind Power Debate: Views from Cape Cod

Journal Article

Title: The Offshore Wind Power Debate: Views from Cape Cod
Publication Date:
January 01, 2005
Journal: Coastal Management
Volume: 33
Issue: 2
Pages: 119-149
Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Document Access

Website: External Link


Kempton, W.; Firestone, J.; Lilley, J.; Rouleau, T.; Whitaker, P. (2005). The Offshore Wind Power Debate: Views from Cape Cod. Coastal Management, 33(2), 119-149.

Wind power resources on the eastern U.S. continental shelf are estimated to be over 400 GW, several times the electricity used by U.S. eastern coastal states. The first U.S. developer proposes to build 130 large (40 story tall) wind turbines in Nantucket Sound, just outside Massachusetts state waters. These would provide 420 MW at market prices, enough electricity for most of Cape Cod. The project is opposed by a vigorous and well-financed coalition. Polling shows local public opinion on the project almost equally divided. This article draws on semistructured interviews with residents of Cape Cod to analyze values, beliefs, and logic of supporters and opponents. For example, one value found to lead to opposition is that the ocean is a special place that should be kept natural and free of human intrusion. One line of argument found to lead to support is: The war in Iraq is problematic, this war is “really” over petroleum, Cape Cod generates electricity from oil, therefore, the wind project would improve U.S. security. Based on analysis of the values and reasoning behind our interview data, we identify four issues that are relevant but not currently part of the debate.

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