Hopefully by now you’ve caught wind of the state/federal clean energy goals and the massive offshore wind projects. If you haven’t, now is the time to start paying attention to what’s taking place. These monumental decisions effect everyone in the state/region and beyond. On the surface offshore wind might sound like a dream but like everything in life when it sounds too good to be true… it’s too good to be true!
What started out with the 2010 ‘Smart From The Start’ initiative, things have really accelerated but not in the “smart” direction. Major regulatory changes, Task Forces (here’s the NJ Renewable Energy Task Force’s activity over the years) and executive orders (EO No8 directed NJBPU to implement Offshore Wind Economic Development Act, EO No79 established council on offshore wind “WIND Institute”, EO No92 raised goal from 3500MW by 2030 to 7500 by 2035) have amplified the expansion of offshore wind developments. Everything is and has been in high gear, seemingly reckless and rushed to meet these far out goals. However there is a very large gap between wishful (possibly delusional) political talk and physical reality.
Offshore Wind Energy Areas In NJ
For perspective on the massive scale, which is arbitrarily concentrated inequitable in close proximity to New Jersey… As of January 2022, there’s more 500,000 aches of leased wind areas nearshore the central and south Jersey coastline; Atlantic Shore (OCS-A 0499: 183,353 acres) and Ocean Wind (OCS-A 0498: 160,480 acres). There is also Empire Wind (OCS-A 0512: 79,350 acres) in the Bight about 20 miles east of Sandy hook as well as a couple not far from Cape May, Skipjack & GSOE (OCS-A 0519; 26,332 acres & OCS-A 0482: 70,098 acres).
On January 19th 2021, I attended the NY Bight Final Sale Notice Fisheries Stakeholder Meeting. [For anyone who has read this far you might care to] See these slides are basically the same as what was presented. And just like every other offshore wind energy meeting I’ve attended (and that is lots of them) the attendance was poor. Does no one care? Or does no one know?
Offshore Wind: Too Big, Too Fast
The theme of responsible offshore wind development is now run over by the threat of rapidly expansion. We currently face the risk of the largest ecological destruction of the century. Sadly the environmental community has turned a blind eye. Could the hush money (funding and non disclosure agreements) have something to do with their blurry vision, thinking and lack of voice?
It’s concerning that the poster children in the USA, Block Island Wind Farm, has painted a bad picture with a long list of failures.
There’s scientists working on important topics right. Would it not make sense to halt development until the works are completed? Also baseline studies must be complete. Unfortunately much of the reports from previous studies is either ignored or overlooked. This 2010 study outlines ecologically and environmentally sensitive areas along the south-central NJ coast and identifies conflicts.
This is NJ’s Offshore Wind Fiasco Part 1. NJ’s Offshore Wind Fiasco Part 2 dives into to the ocean, environment and more specifically the fisheries. The third and final part will outline topics concerning everyone; energy policy, economics and feasibility.NJ’s Offshore Wind Fiasco Part 2