Urbin Report

Monday, February 12, 2007

Good news for alternate energy in Massachusetts

The Cape Wind Project, which would provide clean, wind powered electricity (up to three quarters of the Cape & Island requirements), has been blocked by wealthy Cape & Island homeowners more concerned with their property values. Those opposing this non-greenhouse gas method of providing clean, renewable energy has included the Commonthwealth's own Senior Felon in the Senate, democrat Edward Kennedy.

Peter Fairley reports in the MIT Technology Review that these off shore wind farms are safer to birds than passenagers are in Senator Kennedy's car.

Uncertainty surrounding wind power's impact on wildlife--particularly the potential for deadly collisions between birds and turbines--has tarnished its image and even delayed some wind farms. Indeed, the first large offshore wind farm proposed for U.S. waters--the Cape Wind project in Massachusetts's Nantucket Sound--has been held up in part by concerns that its 130 turbines could kill thousands of seabirds annually. Now a simple infrared collision-detection system developed by Denmark's National Environmental Research Institute is helping clear the air.

The Thermal Animal Detection System (TADS) is essentially a heat-activated infrared video camera that watches a wind turbine around the clock, recording deadly collisions much as a security camera captures crimes. The first results, released this winter as part of a comprehensive $15 million study of Denmark's large offshore wind farms, show seabirds to be remarkably adept at avoiding offshore installations.