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Porter Hoagland


Porter Hoagland is a research specialist at WHOI’s Marine Policy Center (MPC), where he has been analyzing economic and policy questions associated with the human use of the oceans for over 20 years. He has worked in a number of areas, including fisheries management, aquaculture in the oceans, the impacts of red tides, and the management of underwater cultural resources. As a recreational sailor, he has a special interest in relying upon ocean wind as a source of energy. In collaboration with his MPC colleagues, Hauke Kite-Powell and Mary Schumacher, Porter helped organize WHOI’s “National Workshop on the Siting of Wind Power in the Coastal Ocean” last October.

Porter Hoagland

Which Way Will the Wind Blow?

Which Way Will the Wind Blow?

Wind energy is the fastest-growing sector of the global electric power industry, and several companies have proposed to build large wind turbines and utility-scale electric power-generating facilities in the coastal waters of the United States. Such facilities could change the way people use the ocean, and the public is divided over the costs and benefits. The environmental and economic benefits of renewable, nonpolluting sources of energy are clear. But there may be side effects from the placement of modern wind farms in the ocean, including the degradation of seascapes, impacts on birds and marine animals, and the disruption of existing patterns of human use of the ocean. The laws and regulations related to the placement of wind turbines in the ocean are at best rudimentary and inchoate; at worst, they are non-existent. Marine scientists and engineers can make an important contribution to this growing public debate by clarifying our understanding of the nature of these side effects. They might also inform public policies that balance the value of various ocean resources with the rights and interests of all who wish to use them.

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