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A clean, renewable and cost-effective power source, wind energy is an ideal alternative to carbon-emitting fossil fuels, which are the key contributors to global warming. Yet, in 2022, wind energy accounted for just 10.3% of the nation’s electricity supply.  

One week after taking office, President Biden announced a bold new plan to dramatically expand offshore wind energy by 2030. According to Zana Cranmer, an assistant professor of energy, meeting this ambitious goal will require wind energy providers to communicate clearly and transparently with stakeholders; ambiguity regarding the visual and auditory impacts of wind turbines, she notes, leads to public opposition, which can delay or derail proposed projects.  

In their latest research, however, Cranmer and Bentley colleague Jon Ericson, an associate professor of Information Design and Corporate Communication, have identified an innovative way for wind energy providers to address these concerns. As Cranmer and Bentley student Amanda Slattery ’24 — a double major in Sustainability Science and Business Studies who recently completed an internship with Vineyard Wind — demonstrate in the video below, cinematic virtual reality (CVR) technology can increase public awareness of and support for wind energy projects — and pave the way toward a more sustainable future. 

RELATED: Prof. Cranmer awarded NSF grant to explore fuel cell technology