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Debate: Offshore wind farms

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Are offshore wind farms a good idea?

Background and context

Offshore wind farms are large collections of wind turbines on the water off coastlines, which take advantage of ideal wind conditions to produce abundant electricity. Though non-controversial in many places around the world, they have met significant resistance in America. Cape Wind, a giant 130-turbine and 420-megawatt project in Massachusetts’s Nantucket Sound, has been opposed since its proposal in 2001 by a group called the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound as well as prominent Massachusetts politicians. Nevertheless, Cape Wind won final approval by federal agencies between April and August of 2010. And simultaneously, New Jersey passed a law on August 22nd mandating that a percentage of electricity sold in the state be from offshore turbines. With things looking up for the industry, it is worthwhile to do a final gut-check on the pros and cons to ensure it is something we should support, subsidize, mandate, and foster in the marketplace.

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