Thursday, April 29, 2010

Offshore Energy.

In the past week, two major stories have come to the forefront regarding offshore energy.

The first was the explosion of an oil rig off the coast near New Orleans. The blast presumably killed 11 workers and is currently leaking over 200,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico each day1. By the time the leak is fixed, the total amount of oil spilt into the Gulf is expected to exceed the 11 million gallons of the Exxon Valdez in 1989.

The second was the approval of 130 windmills to be built five miles off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts2. This wind farm would produce enough clean energy to power up to 200,000 homes2.

Opponents of the wind project say that it will kill some birds and the turbines may be visible from beach front properties tarnishing their view. However, offshore oil drilling has already resulted in the loss of human life, as well as incalculable harm to birds and marine life. Additionally, the quickly spreading oil is threatening to completely destroy the Gulf Coast fishing industry. At this point, climate change seems almost irrelevant in the comparison of the two.

Still, the Obama administration has stood behind both forms of energy, approving increased offshore drilling in addition to the Cape Cod wind project. It's time that the government quits trying to cater to everyone and chooses the correct side. Proposed wind and oil projects are both privately funded so there is no upfront cost to the American people. However, wind promises zero emissions while only harming a few birds and potentially coming into view of some rich people. Meanwhile, oil drilling means certain release of greenhouse gases while potentially killing more workers and a historic record of environmental catastrophe from spills. You don't need a detailed cost-benefit analysis to see that the choice is clear. WIND BABY WIND!.




  1. That is the problem with the elected officials that come from democratic forms of government - it is much about popularity and being reelected as it is about 'doing the right thing'. Regardless, the cape cod wind farm is a huge step forward in wind energy, and hopefully it will prove successful enough to win over the offshore drilling advocates to the side of sustainable energy.

  2. Its ridiculous that someone's view is on par with renewable energy resources. This is a big hindrance to sustainable energy efforts, people's unwillingness to sacrifice for it. They want benefits without sacrificing or even making any changes for it.

  3. The amount of windmills that would be needed to compensate for the amount of energy yielded from oil would likely prove wind energy as an equally inefficient option. AND there's no way entrepreneurs could afford the cost of the number of windmills needed. Those in cape cod opposing windmills due to loss of aesthetic value would multiply with the addition of many more. I do not advocate oil use without recognizing risks of oil rig catastrophes, but at the same time, really, what are we going to do without oil? It will be a timely process until we become independent from oil use but until then, there should be an efficient balance between both sustainable and non-sustainable energy sources. Just being a realist here. We're dreaming if we think the USA can replace oil with wind energy.

  4. This explosion in the Gulf is a disater. It shows how unsafe these oil platforms can be and to expand the amount of platforms and to surround our coasts with them is a recipe for environmental disaster.

  5. If the only opposing arguments to the wind farms are the birds and a good view there really shouldn't be any problem. A renewable energy with no emissions like wind energy is a perfect alternative for this area. If only a few people are effected by the view of the wind farm then I really do not see any problem.

  6. I believe that looking at these two new events shows us a lot about what is to come in the future of energy. As more and more oil accidents happen using oil is going to become less and less appealing to Americans. At the same time the development of new wind farms and other green energy sources are going to make green energy more affordable and show the public how safe the methods really are. I say that the U.S. should be able to reduce our oil dependence in half in 30 years!!!


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