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Wind power survey gets under way in Delaware

In general, Firestone said, environmental activists would be expected to favor wind power, but the Nantucket Sound proposal has split environmental activists and sparked opposition from some of them.

As electricity rates soar, scientists and environmentalists are considering alternative sources of power, including wind power.

A recent study by researchers from the University of Delaware polled residents facing a proposed wind farm in Massachusetts, to gauge public opinion about the project.

Jeremy Firestone and Willett Kempton of the College of Marine Studies surveyed residents of Nantucket, where controversy is brewing over a wind farm project.

Proposed in Nantucket Sound, the project would bring 130 wind turbines, measuring 128 meters from sea level to top blade tip. They would occupy about 24 square miles of the sound, would generate 454 megawatts at full capacity and could add 1,489,200 megawatt hours of electricity per year.

Thirty miles off Cape Cod, Nantucket Island is home to a mix of residents that includes workers who depend on the ocean for fishing and coastal tourism and primarily seasonal property owners.

Jeremy Firestone, assistant professor of marine policy at the University of Delaware, said wind farms often generate controversy, but the Nantucket Sound project is unusual because environmentalists can be found on both sides of the issue. In general, Firestone said,... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
As electricity rates soar, scientists and environmentalists are considering alternative sources of power, including wind power.

A recent study by researchers from the University of Delaware polled residents facing a proposed wind farm in Massachusetts, to gauge public opinion about the project.

Jeremy Firestone and Willett Kempton of the College of Marine Studies surveyed residents of Nantucket, where controversy is brewing over a wind farm project.

Proposed in Nantucket Sound, the project would bring 130 wind turbines, measuring 128 meters from sea level to top blade tip. They would occupy about 24 square miles of the sound, would generate 454 megawatts at full capacity and could add 1,489,200 megawatt hours of electricity per year.

Thirty miles off Cape Cod, Nantucket Island is home to a mix of residents that includes workers who depend on the ocean for fishing and coastal tourism and primarily seasonal property owners.

Jeremy Firestone, assistant professor of marine policy at the University of Delaware, said wind farms often generate controversy, but the Nantucket Sound project is unusual because environmentalists can be found on both sides of the issue. In general, Firestone said, environmental activists would be expected to favor wind power, but the Nantucket Sound proposal has split environmental activists and sparked opposition from some of them.

“In Cape Cod, everyone had heard about the project, so they had much more knowledge than we expect there to be in Delaware,” said Firestone, who is working with his team to develop a wind power survey that will be circulated in Delaware. “There was a lot more noise about the project and accusations were everywhere, which caused skewed views.”

In Delaware, wind power still seems to be a far way off, but with rising electricity costs, the possibility of a wind farm could take the forefront, said Firestone in a preliminary discussion about the two surveys.

Last summer, a public meeting was held in South Bethany to discuss a project, backed by Winergy LLC of New York, to build a wind farm off the coast of Sussex County. The meeting brought people from both sides of the argument, including coastal landowners who don’t want to lose their view and environmentalists thinking about future energy costs and pollution. Since that meeting, talk of wind power in Delaware has died down, but it is something that could regain momentum in light of electric rate increases from Delmarva Power.

“Right now there isn’t anything brewing in Delaware,” said Firestone, of possible projects. “But, if Delaware were to move forward and look at this option, that could bring speculation for future projects.”

Firestone, Kempton and their team want to get a better understanding of the resource and how its use could affect coastal residents.

Firestone said proposals for land wind farms routinely have been shot down because of the land they take and because people dislike the view. But, he said wind farms on the ocean generate more electricity, because the ocean is flat and winds are stronger.

But, he said, the public has yet to widely accept wind power.

Firestone said the team has already started creating a survey, which will take about two months to complete and test. Then they will do a street or pre-test before mailing it out to Delaware residents. Once residents receive the survey they will have one to three months to complete it and send it back. Then the team will analyze the data and have results in a few more months.

For more information, visit www.ocean.udel.edu/windpower.


Source: http://www.capegazette.com/...

MAY 9 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/2544-wind-power-survey-gets-under-way-in-delaware
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