Ocean Wind Offshore Wind Farm Meeting 3/24/21

I recently learned of Wednesday March 24, 2021 “Ocean Wind Offshore Wind Farm” virtual meeting hosted by Friends Of Ortley Beach on Facebook. Offshore Wind, more specifically the developments of Atlantic Shores and Ocean Wind are very concerning to me so I couldn’t miss the opportunity to learn more.

Right out of the gate the presentation was an advertisement, highlighting the same talking points published on their website. But some of what was presented surprised me. I thought portions was off the cuff and not factual. What it really comes down to is until the Construction and Operations Plan (COP) is published everything is shifty.

  • Orsted Ocean Wind will not have turbines closer than 15nm off the coast. Really first time I heard that.
  • Ocean Wind will not have any storage solutions onshore. Wind’s inconsistencies remain inconsistent. Atlantic Shores said this same thing and then a meeting or two later said they had onshore storage planned but no details provided. Technology isn’t there yet with both batteries and hydrogen fuel cells.
  • Ocean Wind will create countless new jobs. I would like to see some estimates. Because it puts a lot of jobs at risk. The economic impact of recreational fishing is tremendous; 18k+ Jobs (Table E2), $296M in Federal/State/Local tax revenue (PG8). NJ’s 5000 commercial fishing jobs (fleet, processing, wholesale) are in Jeopardy. Right now in the state Orsted has about 200 employees and expect the Ocean Wind development to have ~50 full time employees to management and maintenance. How many subcontractor jobs will be created and how long will these jobs last? Where is the data? It’s available somewhere because it was spoon-fed to the unions who are in support of the projects.
  • When asked about the failure rate. “There is no failure rate.” That’s impossible. Well a quick search what do you know? Maintenance costs can make up ~30% of the overall cost of energy and failure rates are much higher offshore than onshore. The components that fail the most are the pitch/hydraulic system, gear box or the generator. The biggest failure in these groups are oil issues (oil leaks, unscheduled oil changes, unscheduled oil top ups)

The meeting had overwhelming interest proving the public wants more information and wants to engage with developers. Sadly the question and answer portion was limited. After the meeting I was compelled to email the Orsted representatives.

My Email

Hello and thank you for having the meeting to inform the public today. Personally I felt like the meeting was an advertisement for the project and for the most part did not address the communities concerns. While that might have been the intent of the meeting I ask, Can Orsted schedule additional meetings ASAP?

I would like to see informative meetings where the overview is skipped. This general information is listed on your site. There’s no need to present it at each meeting. In my opinion, it’s a waste of everyone’s time. The public wants details and after far too many years they aren’t being shared. We have to wait until the NOI and/or COP?

While there’s so much to discuss I will put my personal expertise as a fisheries stakeholder aside and ask for more information on the fundamentals that pertain to the general public. I’ve had to read 1000’s of pages and spend way too many hours at meetings to not get a straight answer. A large portion of NJ ratepayers have this frustration. The ones who do not are unaware of these projects being fast tracked in ‘their” backyards.

Costs & Risk To Ratepayers

On the call there was reference to an independent study which stated ratepayers should expect ~$1.46+/- per month. I would assume this is a variable rate that would go up each month/year? Or is it fixed?

I attended the NJ BPU meeting Feb 26 to learn more about in depth topics. The public needs to have more information published on the topic of the transmission system, transmission costs/upgrades as well as curtailment costs and mitigation. I’m really looking for any documents that detail specifics rather than “studies show”.

Can someone explain more about the following article;  www.njspotlight.com/2019/09/19-09-15-216-rsted-okd-to-bring-its-offshore-wind-power-ashore-at-oyster-creek-facility/ I assume Orsted agrees with this news source since Orsted is listed under as Major Funder.

The article states… “Ocean Wind will pay the first $10 million of transmission costs. From there to $130 million, Ocean Wind will incur 70 percent of the costs with 30 percent recovered from ratepayers. From $130 million to $174 million, the costs will be split between the developer and ratepayers. After $174 million, ratepayers will pay 100 percent of the costs.” 

This is alarming given the slide in which Orsted’s Mid-Atlantic Project Development Director Christian Bjol presented at the Feb 26th NJ BPU meeting: “Risks are real: Between 2013 and 2016 alone, German ratepayers had to pay $1.2B. All costs associated with delays and cost overruns passed along directly to ratepayers.” Please comment.

Risk To Birds

Marc, in regards to your comment on the call… “data collected on birds over a 20-30 year period showed that birds this far out were slightly above zero.” I would like to see this study. One link I suggest you read to bring you up to speed on the topic, NJCleanEnergy.com – 2004 NJ Offshore Wind Energy: Feasibility Study. I’ve also attached the same study which I’ve highlighted a few important points on the topic of sea birds for your enrichment. It was my goal to save you the time that I had to spend. I’m on the water well over a 100 days a year. There’s terns, gannets, shearwater, petrels, gulls, among others. I occasionally see soaring raptors (ospreys) surprisingly farther offshore than most would believe, 7-10 miles when bunker schools are present on the east side of the reef sites, exactly where the lease sites are located.

Pg 196: “Little is known about the presence and movements of the more pelagic seabirds.” Is very much concerning especially considering it’s now 15+ years later and I don’t see much research on the topics.

Pg 195: “The presence of large numbers of birds throughout the year in portions of the project study area suggests the potential for some risk to these species.”

“Studies from Europe provide some insight regarding potential collision impacts, although this insight can only be used after more thorough investigations in specific project areas are done.” Were these studies done? Where can I read about them?

Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Pilot Program

Please correct me if I am wrong… Orsted is currently operating two 12MW turbines at the CVOW Pilot Program (27 miles off Virginia Beach). Where can I find public documents that detail the activities and findings of both offshore and onshore topics?

Again I thank you for your time and look forward to learning more about the developments. I would appreciate a reply but please refrain if it will contain the cookie cutter response, “the many benefits outweigh the negative impacts”.

Thanks for reading. If the topic of Offshore Wind is concerning to you I suggest digging in and learning more about the topic. Review the developer’s sites, BOEM and be sure to look at Protect Our Coast NJ. The subject is wide reaching covering all of the basis from environmental, fisheries and wildlife concerns, ratepayer’s energy costs, sustainable coastal communities, political theater, viewshed, marine safety and many other .


Author: FishHead.Greg

A Long Beach Island native with life long experience fishing and navigating the local waters, Greg is a distinguished Master Captain (the highest qualified operator license), holding a US Coast Guard Masters 50T Near Coastal License with Towing Endorsement. Raised in and now managing his family's bait and tackle business, Fishermans Headquarters (Since 1962, The Saltwater Fishing Bait & Tackle Experts) Greg is daily immersed in fishing. He is the Chief Contributor of FishingLBI.com (Long Beach Island's best fishing report blog) as well as the Admin for the shop's social media pages (on Instagram and Facebook). Be sure to follow!

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