Library filed under Offshore Wind from New Jersey
In Ocean City, members of the community and elected officials are raising objections to Danish energy company Orsted’s plans for a wind farm 15 miles off the South Jersey coast from Atlantic City to Cape May. Also, elected officials and representatives of the fishing industry in Long Beach Island are voicing similar concerns over another wind farm proposed by Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind about 10 miles off Barnegat Light.
Opposition to New Jersey’s coming surge in offshore wind farms is growing at the Jersey Shore. The hundreds of wind turbines due to be built up to 20 miles off New Jersey in the next five years or so will spoil ocean views, undermine local economies and hurt wildlife while boosting the profits of overseas developers, critics say.
A proposed offshore wind farm continues to draw opposition from New Jersey's southern coastal communities. Ørsted's proposed project aims to construct 99 wind turbines about 15 miles off the coast from Atlantic City to Cape May. The wind turbines are expected to produce enough energy to power half a million homes by 2024, according to Ørsted officials.
OCEAN CITY — Organizers and supporters of a group fighting planned wind farms off the coast of southern New Jersey warn residents their communities could be next.
With the Atlantic Shores Wind Farm proposed off the coast of Long Beach Island before the state Board of Public Utilities for the right to generate electricity, there’s a growing movement on the Island seeking the opportunity for more public input from officials and taxpayers. The BPU is expected to have its decision in June.
A half-dozen people stood on an oceanfront deck with a million-dollar view, asking a hundred questions about what’s on the horizon. On this clear, winter afternoon, it was the Atlantic as far as the eye can see. By 2024, nearly 100 of the world’s largest, most powerful wind turbines could be spinning 15 miles off the coast. With blades attached, the windmills could reach as high and wide as 850 feet, and simulations created by Orsted, the Danish-based power company behind the Ocean Wind project, show the turbines are visible, faintly, from beaches in Brigantine, Avalon, Stone Harbor, and Joe and Tricia Conte’s deck in Ocean City.
Beach Haven resident Bob Stern has taken a keen interest in Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind’s proposal to construct a wind farm off the coast of Long Beach Island and parts south to Atlantic City. ...Although he had never reviewed any wind energy proposals, he sees this as having myriad issues that should involve much input from local officials. But during a presentation at the Feb. 8 Beach Haven Borough Council meeting, Stern focused on the potential adverse affect on the Island economy.
During Atlantic Shores’ second meeting with recreational fishermen on Wednesday, Jan. 27 concerning its plans to build a wind farm on a lease off Long Beach Island and parts south to Atlantic City, there was still no word on how many wind turbines the company plans to build.
Too much too soon is how a noted oceanographer at the University of Rhode Island views offshore wind farm projects in New Jersey and other Northeast states. “There’s going to be hundreds or thousands of turbines off the East Coast, so it would be nice to understand these effects and how it translates into impacts before they get built,” Emeritus Professor John King has said in published reports. “Right now the government is pushing full speed ahead to get these things built, and I don’t think they really care that much about their impacts. The environmental reviews are being done really fast.”
The three legislators, all of whom were sponsors of the Offshore Wind Development Act, asked the state agency to look into representations made by Ørsted in its application to hire union labor and set up a fund to ensure minority businesses and women-owned businesses have an opportunity to enter the offshore-wind industry. They also want the agency to reach out to colleagues in other states about whether they experienced similar problems.
“We have such a short tourism season anyway. If there is any negative impact – even if it cuts tourism by 10 percent – it is just not worth it for them to mess with a good thing,” said one person who wished to remain anonymous. “Let them experiment with it somewhere else. It is nothing more than an industrial park on the water.”
The measure requires developers seeking New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approval as a qualified offshore wind project to include within its detailed description for the project any transmission facilities and interconnection facilities to be installed.
For the short term, offshore wind developers will likely have relatively few problems hooking up with the electric grid, at least to achieve the goals of developing 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2030 ..Long term is another issue altogether.
“With the introduction of 12 MW, it is going to be the biggest machine ever deployed — the most powerful machines in the world.” The new units are bigger in megawatts generated and capacity and rotor diameter, he said. The GE turbine has a rotor diameter of 220 meters (722 feet). Each blade is 107 meters (351 feet) long, sweeping a total area of 38.000 square meters (409,000 square feet), according to Ørsted.
“I think it’s time to reiterate our position on wind farms,” he said. “I’d like to request the mayor send a letter to the governor once again to let him know we support wind farms, but they must be 33 miles offshore.” The council agreed and determined the required action did not require a formal motion and vote. Instead, Meehan agreed to send the requested letter to the governor. DeLuca said the reasoning behind asking to push the wind turbines even farther offshore was because technological advances since the original approval by the PSC have resulted in the development of much taller turbines capable of producing even more energy.
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities said Ørsted will receive offshore renewable energy credits (ORECs) worth $98.10 per megawatt-hour in the project’s first year of operation, lifting the average residential customer’s monthly bill by $1.46. The project will generate enough renewable power for the equivalent of half a million homes.
Add it up: No net economic benefits. Environmental damages. Growing public opposition. A variety of likely legal actions. The Great Lakes are held in the public trust by each bordering state and Canada. Accordingly, any proposal that will pollute and endanger the lakes should be wholly rejected by the agencies charged with protecting them, in this case the OPSB.
In fact, the BPU declined to identify the three bidders who submitted applications in a press release announcing what it described as regaining New Jersey’s place as a “leader when it comes to clean renewable energy and offshore wind power.’’ Asked to supply further details about the projects in emails and phone calls, Peter Peretzman, a spokesman for the agency responded, “We are not sharing additional information at this time.’’
“If someone is going to be the capital of offshore wind, we sure want it to be New Jersey,’’ said Tim Sullivan, CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority at an event yesterday touting offshore wind’s economic benefits to the state at Princeton University.
“The project is simply too expensive and will lead to more costs than benefits for New Jersey ratepayers despite the fact that these cost burdens, according to the company, may amount to only a few dollars per year,’’ Dismukes said. ...most offshore-wind development in the U.S. “is moving forward quickly with expansive programs that effectively skip any form of ‘experimental’ or ‘pilot’ process.’’