United States

United States

Hurdles could be too high to climb - Off Cape Cod

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Plans for an offshore wind farm near the Massachusetts coast in New England have been mooted by a small private company, the Conservation Consortium Foundation Inc. The project would initially consist of Danish turbines several miles off the coast of Yarmouth near Cape Cod. The company also hopes to develop an offshore resource laboratory at the wind farm that would research the integration of wave energy, ocean aquaculture and offshore wind power.

The Massachusetts Office of Energy Resources has identified offshore wind power as a potentially desirable renewable energy resource for the state. Massachusetts, as well as most of the northeastern US, is mostly reliant on fossil fuels for power. Air pollution is also considerable.

Even so, the plan will most likely face serious opposition. The region is renowned for its coastline, for sailing and for whales. Brian Braginton-Smith, the entrepreneur who has been trying to get the project afloat for a decade, concedes there are hurdles to overcome in getting planning permission. Concerns from fishermen, coastal property owners, and the tourist industry could well lead to local opposition that could prove extremely tricky.

Braginton-Smith has met with state and federal officials, members of the White House, private potential partners, and with researchers at the University of Massachusetts Renewable Energy Laboratory and at the University's Urban Harbours Institute. Over the years he has tried unsuccessfully to get several projects off the ground in the area, but they have faced local opposition. "We have been filleted, sautéed, diced and scrambled sunny side up," says Braginton-Smith. "It's the NIMBY phenomenon."

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