Offshore wind farms have made headlines lately, as some residents of Cape Cod have argued that a potential Cape Wind project there would spoil their pristine view. A survey conducted earlier this year by Opinion Research Corp. found that, despite a vocal minority, 84 percent of all Massachusetts residents and 58 percent who live on or near Cape Cod support the Cape Wind project, Dvorak said.
''The proposed Cape Cod wind project, if it was built, would be the largest offshore wind park in the world,'' Dvorak said, noting smaller projects in Europe have been met with more support. Projects in Denmark, for example, began with one or two offshore turbines, he added. The proposed Cape Cod wind park calls for the construction of 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound.
In informal conversations with people who live near Cape Mendocino, Dvorak said most people seemed willing to sacrifice their view to have an environmentally friendly source of power.
Still, he added, ''You would want to do a pretty extensive survey of the local population and the environment to see how they would be affected.''
Another limiting factor is the development of new technology. Under provisions of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, the construction of ships and offshore equipment-both of which are needed to build the wind turbines-must be done in the United States, even though there are experienced crews and ships outfitted for this sort of work in Europe.
''You can't actually farm it out to a foreign vessel,'' Dvorak said. ''So the first offshore wind project of this type is going to incur a lot of extra cost.''
It would take seven to eight years before a wind park like the one in Northern California could start producin
|Contact: Louis Bergeron|