An Analysis of the Potential Acoustic Effects of Cape Wind's Offshore Wind Farm on Marine Mammal Populations
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Offshore wind farms are an appealing form of renewable energy that are common in Europe but have yet been developed fully in the United States. The Cape Wind project in Massachusetts has proposed the construction of 130 turbines in the Horseshoe Shoal of Nantucket Sound. Despite the potential local benefits of the development, many Cape Cod residents oppose construction of the wind farm. Opposition to this development includes concerns that the noises emitted during all phases of the wind farm’s life cycle will adversely affect populations of marine mammals. In my Master’s project I review and analyze information regarding the acoustic effects of offshore farms and other relevant anthropogenic sound sources. It is difficult to predict fully what effects the Cape Wind project will have on marine mammals in Nantucket Sound. Nevertheless, it is clear that the construction phase would have the greatest potential acoustic impact, including possible displacement; operational sounds are less intense and more likely to result in habituation. Ultimately, however, marine mammals within Horseshoe Shoals do not face any greater risk from Cape Wind than from other anthropogenic sound source in the region.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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