Articles filed under Offshore Wind
The Brunswick Commissioners extended the usual “not-in-my-backyard” thinking to “not-within-27-miles” Monday, voting to oppose construction of wind turbines within 24 nautical miles (about 27 miles) of the county’s shoreline. Although no wind-energy projects are planned for the area, the federal government has identified three Wind Energy Areas (WEA) off the North Carolina coast as potential sites for turbines, which would harness offshore wind to produce electricity.
The opposition movement began earlier this summer in Bald Head Island. The village council approved a resolution in May that makes it clear any efforts to place wind farms within the island’s viewshed — the territory of ocean in which the turbines could be seen from the beach, or the Old Baldy lighthouse — will be met with a fight. The campaign spread to neighboring coastal towns, with Ocean Isle Beach and Sunset Beach passing similar resolutions in July.
Conducted by scientists with NOAA Fisheries, the New England Aquarium and the Center for Coastal Studies using aerial survey data from 2011 through 2019, the study found that 327 unique right whales have been spotted in the waters of southern New England, making the area a crucial habitat for a species teetering on the edge of extinction. Scientists estimate the North Atlantic right whale population at less than 400 total specimens, including approximately 100 breeding females.
Brunswick County’s board of commissioners will consider a resolution opposing offshore wind turbines sited fewer than 24 nautical miles of the shoreline, following the lead of a handful of its oceanfront towns, including Bald Head Island, Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach and Caswell Beach.
They warned: "Local communities are rightly concerned about the sheer amount of infrastructure built by individual offshore wind companies and the government must act. "The government should urgently carry out an audit of all outstanding plans for onshore infrastructure relating to offshore wind farms and consider ways to minimise the damage to precious inland areas." They added: "We already do this for onshore wind farms through 'Community Benefit Funds', and we were planning something similar for fracking.
Actions by Maine fishermen directly affected the process of offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine with a bill signed into law on July 7 by Governor Janet Mills.
UNDER SCRUTINY: The U.S. Interior Department is reviewing Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind’s plan for construction and operations.
A legal challenge by two lakeview condo dwellers seeking to block Lake Erie’s first offshore wind farm faces a high legal bar before the Ohio Supreme Court — with equally high stakes for clean energy in the region. The Icebreaker Windpower project’s six turbines would sit roughly 8 to 10 miles northwest of Cleveland and produce roughly 20.7 megawatts of electricity per year. The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation, or LEEDCo, has worked on the project for more than a decade.
Allco, which is represented by its senior general counsel Thomas Melone, further claims that the DOI has failed OCSLA's balancing test because commercial fishing boats will effectively have to abandon the wind farm's area due to difficulties navigating there. The current plan is for 62 wind turbines. Vineyard Wind's approval was quickly condemned by the fishing industry, which raised concerns about the project's impact on fish stocks and vessel traffic.
In a lawsuit filed yesterday with the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Thomas Melone argued that federal regulators failed to consider Vineyard Wind’s impact on other ocean users, endangered species and onshore renewable developers. He asked the court to vacate the environmental permit for the 62-turbine project. The lawsuit offers an early test for the next generation of America’s offshore wind farms.
“The Jones Act is very simple. If a foreign vessel picks up cargo at one point in the United States and takes it to another point, it has broken the law,” Smith continued. “Foreign vessels have succeeded in confusing this issue for a long time. Now, we’re going to shine a bright spotlight on their actions and show everyone just how many foreign mariners are taking money out of U.S. mariners’ pockets.
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.
ATLANTIC CITY — Local officials joined a call for offshore wind development in a virtual event Tuesday morning.
If wind farms can produce clean energy, supplied to millions of customers in coastal metropolitan areas, and also provide immediate and long-lasting jobs, why are some environmental groups and activists asking the government to pump the brakes on legislation?
Under the law, new wind projects are now confined to federal waters. LD 1619, sponsored by Sen. Mark Lawrence (D-Eliot), stipulates new offshore wind developments are permanently prohibited in state waters, but will be permitted in federal waters if, by March 2023, the Governor’s Energy Office develops and proposes a planned research strategy to guide the development of such projects.
On Wednesday, Ørsted announced it has submitted a bid to the PSC to develop Skipjack 2, a proposed project off the coast of Ocean City. The proposed Skipjack Wind 2 project would include up to 760 megawatts and would be sited about 20 miles off the coast of the resort. It would be located in the same approved Wind Energy Area (WEA) as the Skipjack 1 project.
The European Parliament wants member states to compensate fishing vessel owners whose livelihoods are affected by wind farms and ensure that those that operate near these electricity plants can get insurance. MEPs are also calling for more research into how to avoid and mitigate negative effects on the sea basin. They believe member states should ensure that wind farms are placed away from fishing grounds and only built where they are guaranteed not to have negative environmental, ecological or social consequences.
...debates on merits and impacts [of offshore wind energy development] must be made at the local level; however, during the pandemic, in-person discussion and discourse was rendered impossible. Still, the state and federal government are barreling ahead with these projects despite the concerns of local residents and town officials. The Sweeney/Burzichelli legislation isn’t just a slippery slope, it’s an avalanche of government over-reach. As the letter writers noted, “these bills take away the ability of local government to render decisions that they feel reflect the best interest of the community and replaces it with a process that favors foreign investment.”
New Jersey has approved two giant off-shore wind farms in the biggest single go-ahead to energy creation at sea in the U.S. — but at least one will almost certainly face legal action from opponents. The two projects, Atlantic Shores and Ocean Wind 2, will see a total of 193 wind turbines that reach hundreds of feet into the air built as close as 10.5 miles off the South Jersey coast.
The Responsible Offshore Development Alliance has taken the lead in advocating for the fishing industry. It says a major concern is that fishing vessels could strike one of the massive wind farm turbines in bad weather. In addition, it says the spinning blades interfere with the radar vessels use to find their catch. And fishermen like Gilbert worry that the structures will alter the ocean ecosystem. “We’re racing forward without the proper science to evaluate if this is good or if this is bad,” Gilbert said.