Articles filed under Offshore Wind
More than 60 commercial fishermen and their supporters testified Tuesday in favor of a bill that would block any attempt to develop offshore wind projects anywhere along the Maine coast. The bill would prohibit any state agency from permitting or approving any offshore wind energy project regardless of its location. It was introduced by Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham, R-Winter Harbor, a commercial fisherman, and co-sponsored by eight other Republican lawmakers.
Bonnie Brady, executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, said she felt blindsided by the announcement and that there has been minimal communication between Equinor and fishermen. “Why didn’t this process start more organically from the beginning, in a way that actively includes fisherman, so that no one is ultimately put out of business or put into a scenario where they lose traditional historical fishing grounds that are sustainably fished and have been,” she said.
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.
The Danish wind power firm Ørsted has warned that up to 10 of its giant offshore windfarms around the UK and Europe will need urgent repairs because their subsea cables have been eroded by rocks on the seabed. ...Ørsted has found that the rocks placed at the base of the wind turbine foundations to prevent the erosion of the seabed were responsible for wearing down the cable protection system which, in a worst case scenario, could cause the cables to fail.
Leading offshore wind developer Ørsted has suggested that a scour protection method which left the inter-array cables unstabilised could be the potential reason for an up to DKK 3 billion (EUR 403 million) issue across up to ten wind farms in Europe. As reported earlier, Ørsted first became aware of the problem earlier this year during an inspection after an outage at the Race Bank wind farm offshore the UK.
The company identified a total of 10 projects in the U.K. and Europe that used the same design that may need to be remedied. Some projects will be easy to fix. The company can just dump more rocks on top of the cables to make them stay in place. ...But in other cases, Orsted will have to repair or replace the cables. That’s the pricey option that will make up the bulk of the cost, Wiinholt said.
“To a large extent we will be able to mitigate it through stabilising the cable protection system. It will be done by dumping rocks on top of the rocks that are already there.” At other wind farms, the cables are so damaged that the company will either need to repair or replace them, which is more expensive than dumping more rocks on top of the existing protection layer.
The Atlantic coast contains some of the most productive fisheries in the world. BOEM is supposed to work with fisheries interests to ensure offshore wind development does not adversely affect habitat and the livelihood of fishermen. In fact, in December of last year, the Department of the Interior issued a detailed memo stating that the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act prohibits offshore wind approvals if a project would interfere with fishing. But just a few weeks ago, the administration reversed those findings.
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.
In total the South wants to install 12 gigawatts of offshore wind power capacity by the end of the decade. But similar conflicts are slowing down plans for offshore wind farms across the country, with more than 30 government-approved projects yet to start construction, largely due to local opposition, according to the energy ministry. A 2019 British government and industry expert mission report seen by AFP identified "local acceptance" as a "key barrier" that could prevent the South meeting its target.
The federal government has removed two offshore wind-energy
EDF Renewables development manager Dave Sweenie, who has been working on the Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) wind farm for more than a decade, said if projects begin to ramp up at the same time, limited infrastructure could cause bottlenecks to occur. When other industries are thrown into the mix, ports will begin to fill up “very quickly”, creating a “real barrier” for offshore wind deployment, Mr Sweenie warned.
“Everyone is suffering from an incredible burnout over this whole process,” said Bonnie Brady, a commercial fishing advocate whose husband captains a Montauk dragger. “We’ve been fighting this battle for eight years and it doesn’t seem like we’re being listened to at all. They say ‘Oh, the fishermen are being heard,’ but the energy island they are building out there is in the heart of areas so important to fishermen from New York.” Ms. Brady said that the frantic pace to put up wind turbines is galling because by simply waiting for technology to allow the turbines to be placed further offshore, where the depth of the water is prohibitive to current turbine construction styles, the impacts to the migration routes of many marine species and the fishermen who pursue them could be greatly reduced.
They worry that wind farms with their soaring turbines could disrupt fish habitat, reroute fishing lanes, and force sport anglers farther out to sea. Lackner, of Montauk, N.Y., believes that the farms will narrow the currently wide-open pathways to the vessel he docks at Cape May so often that he calls it his second home. “We’ll have to tow in between turbines while dragging a quarter mile of gear,” Lackner said. “We’ll be passing boats, as our gear drifts. ... It’s not good to jump right into wind in such a big way.”
What to Know
Ocean City Councilman Michael DeVlieger said, “I believe that the wind turbines are an existential threat to numerous wildlife species off our coast, in particular the Atlantic sturgeon, the North Atlantic right whale and the horseshoe crab. They should be protected under the Endangered Species Act.” He noted that the project would also likely adversely affect the real estate, hospitality, tourism, and fishing industries which keep the Cape May County economy strong. “This is our livelihood here,” DeVlieger said
Proposed areas to the west can provide "more than enough" wind-energy capacity to meet the region's need without having to develop the off-Hamptons areas, named Fairways North and Fairways South. Public officials and fishing groups oppose windfarms in the Fairways areas, which at 15 miles from shore would be visible from beaches and some of the nation’s most expensive houses.
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.
Melanie Austen, Professor of Ocean and Society at Plymouth University, said: ‘We’re talking about effectively urbanising the sea by introducing these structures. Introducing hard structure through cables and the turbines themselves is going to change the ecology and the ecosystem.’
There could be up to 99 turbines in just the first project, Ocean Wind, by the Danish multinational Ørsted, in partnership with New Jersey’s largest utility, Public Service Electric & Gas Co., or PSEG. When complete in 2024, the $1.6 billion wind farm, located in federal waters, will generate 1,100 megawatts ...But that’s just the start of the state’s plan under Gov. Phil Murphy. New Jersey expects five more projects, or “solicitations,” meaning many more turbines will be needed to achieve the goal of 7,500 megawatts through 2035. The next solicitation to be awarded this year could be twice the size of Ocean Wind.