As the world’s eyes zeroed in on this week’s COP15 climate change talks, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg gazed on a much more placid scene – Denmark’s 209 megawatt Horns Rev 2, the largest offshore wind farm in the world. Bloomberg admired the overhead view as he toured the farm by helicopter, and expressed his desire for the Big Apple to follow suit. With gears already cranking on a 700-megawatt wind energy project in Long Island that could eclipse the Horns Rev 2, the mayor seemed to be daydreaming of his own wind-powered vision for NY‘s future.
One of the biggest obstacles facing the Long Island project, other than the fact that it could cost up to $3 billion, is the number of naysayers complaining about a field of wind turbines being an eyesore. While everyone is entitled to their own opinion about the aesthetics (or lack thereof) of the possible wind farm, Bloomberg makes three great points:
1. We already see a lot of things that might be considered less than pleasant in our environments without giving them a second thought. “We see power lines, we see gas stations, we see trains going by loaded with coal. There’s always something to see,” he said. So while we might think that wind turbines will be these hugely disruptive monoliths, they’ll most likely blend very easily into our surroundings.
2. Context plays a huge role in how people perceive things, and if wind turbine-like structures were introduced as art, the same people who hate on them might welcome them with open arms. Mayor Bloomberg cited the work of Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson as an example. “He would say these are pieces of art,” he explained. “He would do something like this, and we’d all ooh and ahh. And this time it’s something of value to us, in addition to pleasing our minds.”
3. Put simply, the mayor wondered “Would they rather be staring at a coal plant?”
Via NY Times
Wind turbine photos by LIOffshoreWindInitiative.org