Cold Wind Blowing
There’s a long-standing battle raging over the placement of wind farms off the coast of Massachusetts. A project would call for Cape Wind to build 130 large turbines in Nantucket Sound; for those of you who ahn’t from around hee-ah, Nantucket is a small, charming island best known for being the setting of the hit NBC show Wings. Oh, and also it played an important role in our nation’s history due to it being a key whaling port. But mostly, Wings.
Here are the pros and cons of the wind farm, boiled down to oversimplicity by me: we’d get a reliable source of clean, renewable energy, but at the expense of a beautiful view and some wildlife.
Here’s the site of one activist group fighting the farm. The problem is that each side on issues like this tend to get caught up in hyperbole. From the linked site:
There are those who argue that unlike our great Western national parks, Cape Cod is far from pristine, and that Cape Wind’s turbines won’t be a significant blot. I invite these critics to see the pods of humpback, minke, pilot, finback and right whales off Nantucket, to marvel at the thousands of harbor and gray seals lolling on the bars off Monomoy and Horseshoe Shoal, to chase the dark clouds of terns and shorebirds descending over the thick menhaden schools exploding over acre-sized feeding frenzies of striped bass, bluefish and bonita.
Well, according to the Massachusetts Audubon Society, those dark clouds of birdies may be okay. The organization originally had fears that the wind farms would negatively affect birds by killing them and screwing up their migratory patterns, but after further scientific study, they’ve reversed their opinion and decided that the farms may not pose a significant threat to wildlife. They’re going to hold off before giving the official big thumbs up so they can do further testing. Kudos to the Audubon Society for being open to new research, even when it seems to go against what they were used to thinking.
As for me, I’m not sure that the turbines are as ugly as the Cape residents make out.
I’m a big fan of nature, but there is something really beautiful and cool about these things whirling out on the open ocean.
As for the actual impact to our energy reserves, I’m no expert. I’ve read here and there that it’s only cheaper thanks to government subsidies, and will it really make a huge difference in our dependence upon other resources? Those of you who are interested in the scientific side of questions like this will probably want to take a look at the upcoming annual Skeptic’s Society conference: Environmental Wars! It may even be as exciting as the exclamation point makes it sound, with guest speaker, outspoken author Michael Chrichton. I think it’s pretty cool that a skeptic’s conference actually booked someone who, well, seems to hate skeptics. Expect fireworks.
Before I sign off for today, one more note — there’s a very exciting Skepchick project in the works right now, but it happens to be sooper seekrit. I already contacted a couple of you who I already know (thanks, you’ll be hearing back from me soon I hope), but now I’m opening it up a little more — I’m looking for a few good skepchicks who have some kind of scientific or skeptical education or experience and who aren’t afraid of things like cameras and publicity. No, you don’t have to get naked for this one, I promise. If you’re curious, email me at [email protected] and tell me about yourself — send a headshot if you have a decent one. I hope to be able to elaborate further in the near future. Thanks!