Cape Wind Associates has proposed to build 130 large wind turbines on a 24 square mile area of Horseshoe Shoal, in Nantucket Sound. The project is controversial. Cape Wind argues that the project will lower electricity costs to consumers, reduce emissions from power plants in the New England region, create more jobs on Cape Cod, and contribute to greater energy diversity and independence. Critics of the project are concerned about the high cost of wind-generated electricity, about environmental impacts and about the esthetic effects of 130 windmills on the horizon, which they fear will deter tourists and depress land values.
The Beacon Hill Institute (BHI) is in the process of undertaking a complete and systematic cost-benefit analysis of the siting of the proposed wind farm in the Sound. The current report summarizes the first phase of this work, and presents and analyzes the results of a major survey conducted on the Cape and on Martha’s Vineyard in the summer of 2003.