Offshore wind farms: weighing the benefits

Forum sponsored by the Boston Museum of Science and WGBH


Greg Watson, vp, sustainable development. MTC
Jack Clarke, director, public policy, Mass Audubon
Marty Aikens, business agent, renewable energy, IBEW
Charles Kleekamp, director, Cape Clean Air
David Bergeron, exec. director, MA Fishermen's Partnership
Lisa Linowes, exec. director, Industrial Wind Action (IWA) Group
Frank Conte, Beacon Hill Institute, Suffolk University


Offshore wind farms offer the promise of renewable electricity without the use of fossil fuels. As wind turbines become more efficient, policymakers and communities are weighing the environmental and economic benefits of wind-generated electricity against potentially negative impacts on wildlife, tourism, aesthetics, fishing, and boat navigation, among others.

In this Forum at the Museum of Science, an overview speaker, Greg Watson (of the State Office of Environmental Affairs and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative) introduces the subject of wind energy, explaining energy usage in Massachusetts and New England by the variety of fuel types along with the potential of wind energy, how wind turbines work and issues about their placement. A panel of six additional speakers presents some of the factors surrounding the local and national debates on the issue of wind energy, focusing especially on potential impacts of the proposed Cape Wind project considering environmental, economic, health, and other issues. Panelists do not debate the Cape Wind proposal but use it as a case study to present their perspectives on that proposed project and on offshore wind turbines in general. Please note that the views represented in this video are not endorsed by the Museum of Science, and only represent the individual views of each speaker.

After the presentations shown here, audience members continue in small group discussions to consider the tradeoffs from various stakeholder perspectives and then each group decides, using a map of a fictional coastal community with relevant data, whether and how offshore wind farms should be sited. Forums at the Museum of Science, on a variety of topics, combine information with discussion, so that participants think through societal and environmental implications along with technological issues.

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AUG 8 2007
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