The ECO697 course provides IGERT students with an opportunity to learn about offshore wind development and many of the potential environmental issues it raises through site assessment. For the Spring 2015 course, students visited Cape Eleuthera in the Bahamas, where the directors of the Center for Sustainable Design had expressed a strong interest in implementing an offshore wind turbine. The turbine could serve as a demonstration project and research focus for researchers at the associated Cape Eleuthera Institute and students at the Island School. After two months of preliminary site research, 11 IGERT students accompanied by Professors Andy Danylchuk and Curt Griffin traveled to Eleuthera from March 14th to 21st. Professor Danylchuck’s 8 years of experience working and researching at Cape Eleuthera’s Island School greatly enhanced the depth and breadth of experience for the students.
During our week-long stay, we explored the marine and avian life, evaluated the current environmental data available, and visited the surrounding towns to begin gathering the locals’ opinions on offshore wind development. Our research was supplemented through conversations and a guided design charrette with the Center for Sustainable Design leadership team concerning their goals and expectations regarding the project. On the final day of the trip, we presented a two phase research and development plan to members of the Center for Sustainable Design, the Cape Eleuthera Institute, and the Island School. At the end of the course, we will submit a document detailing the background and site assessment of Cape Eleuthera, the research and development plan we are recommending, and potential alternatives to this plan.
Watch the video produced about the trip here: