Library filed under Impact on Landscape from New Jersey
Environmentalists, commercial fishermen, recreational boaters, labor unions, homeowners, boardwalk businesses, NIMBYs and ratepayer advocates are all circling Orsted, the Dutch wind power company behind what could be one of the largest wind farms in North America. Local, state and federal officials are also starting to feel the heat. Just about everyone involved, including David Hardy, CEO of Orsted US, worries the project could devolve into chaos.
In official comments to the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) submitted July 30, 2018, New York suggested the wind turbines be no closer than 20 miles from shore. This recommendation was based upon an earlier study by BOEM that concluded that 600-foot-high turbines produced a “dominate impact “on the beach view 15 miles offshore. Adjusting for the new 50% taller turbines, the suggested distance from the shore should be 30 miles. In Europe, the closest lease area for these jumbo turbines is 44 miles out. The New York decision begs the question of why lease areas from Maryland to Massachusetts aren’t being rejected on the same merits.
During the protest, Cape May County Commissioner Director Gerald Thornton came out to speak to the attendees. He told them that he was opposed to the wind farm and that he, along with his fellow Commissioners who stood outside with him, would approve a resolution at Tuesday’s meeting opposing wind farms. The resolution was unanimously approved.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
Pro-solar New Jersey environmental groups have been sharply critical of the plan. They contend that green energy shouldn't come at the expense of a rich forest ecosystem, and point to the theme park's nearly 100-acre parking area as a better location for the facility.
"It seems as though it's not cost effective or practical given the testimony that has just come up about the poles. I think this is nothing but a public relations ploy by Walmart to look green and entice more people to come shop in their stores," Forked River resident Regina Discenza said.
Cape May is now facing a different kind of accommodation with the modern age, one that pits often-allied historic and environmental interests against each other: Green power. The city's Historic Preservation Commission is asking City Council wants to ban windmills and only wants solar systems in the historic district that can't be seen from the street.
The project has been controversial from the start. Residents of Sea Girt have noted that the noise pollution and flicker effect could negatively affect property values, while environmental supporters cite negative affects on local wildlife.
While work has already begun on the turbine, specifically land excavation for the foundation of the structure, residents from several communities have raised concerns that the structure could pose significant health and public safety risks. The turbine will stand 380 feet tall once placed on a 262-foot-tall concrete pedestal.
Though he's publicly embraced energy-producing windmill farms, Gov. Chris Christie has literally drawn a line in the sand restricting them from being built on certain sections of New Jersey's coastline. ..."We have to recognize that there are some areas that are particularly sensitive," said Ruth Ehinger, manager of the state coastal management and watershed restoration unit.
The 325-foot-tall wind turbine planned for the New Jersey National Guard Training Camp is generating controversy in nearby communities, and state Department of Environmental Protection rules could threaten the federally funded project.
After listening to concerns from residents at a public meeting in Keyport on June 24, the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders is drafting a resolution calling for further study of the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority's (BRSA) proposed 380-foot-tall wind turbine project. The resolution will be introduced this month.
The city's Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) is wary of wind mills and wind turbines in the historic district or elsewhere in the city that would be visible from the historic district. ...Coupland said windmills would be visible since they are elevated and need clear air space and therefore were not appropriate in the city's historic district. "And maybe not in Cape May," he continued.
Three months ago, Ocean Gate was abuzz with excitement as it prepared to celebrate a windmill, which local officials said would lower the electric bills at the municipal building. But shortly after the switch was turned on, problems began. Residents living on three sides of the turbine began to complain about the noise - a constant metallic drone - as well as light reflecting off the rotors. With the prospect of another 50-kilowatt windmill being built in the next year, the complaints have gotten louder.
In contrast with its now well-known proposal to build 106 wind turbines in the Delaware Bay, Delsea officials were much quieter about their idea to build windmills on tracts of land in the township. Maybe too quiet. Because now, some Downe Township officials are grumbling about not knowing that Delsea had raised the tower and was measuring data for an inland wind energy project.
Bayshore environmental group the Hazlet Area Quality of Life Alliance (HAQLA) is opposing a proposal that would place a 380-foot-tall windmill near a residential area along the coastline. HAQLA President John M. Curran III has written to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Monmouth County Freeholders in opposition to the wind turbine project proposed for Union Beach ...Curran calls for a countywide moratorium on wind towers/turbines "until the county and towns establish effective, controlling ordinances and regulations" governing renewable energy projects.
New Jersey and Delaware environmental officials say a wind farm planned for the Delaware Bay could disturb an important flyway for birds. Delsea Energy of Toms River, N.J., has a plan to construct 106 turbines in the upper Delaware Bay, on the New Jersey side of the shipping channel that divides Garden State waters from those controlled by Delaware.