FAQs: Offshore Wind

Question: Why is Cape Wind proposing its wind farm to be located on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound?


Three site characteristics make Horeseshoe Shoal an ideal location: 1) Strong wind resource 2) Shallow depths 3) Relatively low ocean storm wave heights.  Nantucket Sound may be the only offshore New England site that meets these criteria. Within Nantucket Sound, Horseshoe Shoal is superior to other possible sites because it is outside of shipping channels, ferry routes, and flight paths. Being located offshore Cape Cod and the Islands, Cape Wind would supply wind energy to the fastest growing electric demand region in New England and connect into a robust electric infrastructure. Federal agencies evaluated 17 sites in New England and they found Horseshoe Shoal to be technically, environmentally and economically preferable to the other sites.

Question: Why build a wind farm offshore?

Answer: Wind is stronger and less turbulent offshore which enables wind turbines to generate more wind energy. In densely populated southeastern New England, an area with a high and growing demand for electricity, available land for wind development is limited and the greatest wind power development potential is offshore. While no offshore wind farm has yet been built in the United States, Europe has been building them since 1991 and there are now over 60 successful offshore wind farms operating in European waters.