FAQs: Cape Wind's Operations
Question: Where will the electricity go?
Answer: In order to get the electricity generated by the winds on Horseshoe Shoal into homes, schools and businesses on Cape Cod, Cape Wind will connect into the electric grid at the Barnstable substation through underground cables. From there, the electricity will follow the path of least resistance and be consumed by electric consumers closest to the source, typically on the Cape and Islands.
Question: How much wind do the turbines require?
Answer: The wind turbines will begin to rotate and produce power at wind speeds of 8 miles per hour. This wind speed is measured at the height of the rotor where the winds are stronger.
Question: Will Cape Wind be noisy?
Answer: No. The sounds of the wind and the surf are often louder than offshore wind turbines, sometimes making them difficult to hear even for boaters traveling through an offshore wind farm. Cape Wind's offshore wind turbines will not be heard from shore.
Question: What happens when the wind changes direction?
Answer: The wind turbines will be highly dynamic and they will interact with their environment by sensing changes in wind speed and direction and by making physical adjustments. The nacelle, which sits on top of the tower and which the blades connect into, is capable of making a full 360 degree rotation and the blades can also feather to maximize the wind power production of the wind turbines as the wind changes direction.
Question: How fast will the wind turbine blades rotate?
Answer: Depending on wind speed, the blades of the wind turbine will complete one rotation in between four and eight seconds. This is equivalent to 8 to 16 revolutions per minute (RPM). Many observers describe this rate of rotation as ‘graceful’. Older, smaller wind turbines rotated much more rapidly and had much higher RPMs.
Question: What happens when the wind is not blowing?
Horseshoe Shoal is so windy that the wind turbines will be rotating and producing power about 88% of the time. For the remaining 12% of the time when wind speeds are very low, existing sources of energy will continue to provide electricity being demanded. No type of power plant produces electricity 100% of the time.