But in Ocean City and other popular destinations, the threat of climate change is at odds with a perceived threat to tourism. Increasingly vocal opposition is being raised against the construction of offshore wind farms, as shore property owners worry that turbines on the horizon will spoil the views from the beach and discourage tourists from visiting in the summer.
Library filed under Tourism from New Jersey
Acadian, the Louisiana consultant the rate counsel hired, estimates the Fishermen's project would cost $282.2 million over 20 years, including operation and maintenance costs, and would generate only $74.2 million in revenue. It would require $208 million in subsidies from ratepayers.
Of the proposals under consideration, at least one would be off the coast of Ocean County, 18 miles from Long Beach Island. Although a study prepared for the BPU noted the impact of wind farms off the Jersey coast on the fishing and tourism industries would be temporary and relatively minimal, it indicated there was far greater sensitivity to the visual impact of wind farms in Ocean County than in Cape May and Atlantic counties. The BPU should take that into account. ...The projected loss of tourism revenue would drop off dramatically if wind farms were located 6 miles or more off the coast.
Ocean County could lose nearly $400 million in tourism revenues if a pilot project with wind turbines is placed 3 nautical miles off its coast, a new state-funded study says. But a wind farm farther offshore would have a much lower impact and would have a minimal economic impact overall if it were built off Ocean, Atlantic or Cape May counties. It could have a positive effect in some cases, according to the study by Global Insight, hired by the now-defunct New Jersey Commerce Commission. A project with dozens of wind turbines could be operating from 3 to 20 nautical miles off the coastline, from Seaside Park to Stone Harbor, in 2012. But most current proposals are for wind farms 8 to 18 miles off Atlantic or Cape May counties.
The state shouldn't allow companies to build hundreds of windmills off the coast without first studying their effects on tourism, anglers and wildlife. There's no bigger part of New Jersey's multi-billion dollar tourism industry than the shore.
A nearly yearlong effort by the state to figure out the benefits and drawbacks of offshore, energy-producing wind farms is leaving some environmental groups less than blown away.