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New Jersey is moving aggressively to become the leader in the fast-growing offshore wind energy industry on the East Coast, but not everyone is blown away by those ambitious plans. While the state's Democratic political leadership is solidly behind a rapid build-out of wind energy projects off the coast — it has set a goal of generating 100% of its energy from clean sources by 2050 — opposition is growing among citizens groups, and even some green energy-loving environmentalists are wary of the pace and scope of the plans.
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.
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“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.
This research examines the impact of offshore wind power projects on beach recreation on the East Coast of the United States. Data was collected from a 2015 online survey of 2,051 randomly drawn residents over 20 states on the east coast. The data were stratified to oversample beachgoers, but included non-beachgoers as well. Respondents were shown visual simulations of offshore wind power projects as they would have appeared on a beach they recently visited and were asked how their presence would have affected their beach trips. A summary of the findings is provided below. The full report can be accessed by selecting the document links on this page.
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.