NJ’s Offshore Wind Fiasco P1

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.

Like it or not Gov. Murphy is offshore wind’s white knight of New Jersey with roots deep in the industry. His time at Goldman Sachs and term as US ambassador to Germany (2009-13) can shed light on his ties and the current ESG investors who are benefitting on the deals. His numerous executive orders have propelled offshore wind and have hog tied resistance from environmental activists and local communities. Nothing crippling activism more than his executive order in the summer of 2021 stripping coastal communities of their voice and power, allowing the NJBPU (Board of Public Utility) to override local government opposition to offshore wind. Photo: Seth Wenig

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).

BOEM’s Outer Continental Shelf Renewable Energy Leases Map Book

Later this month (February 2022) the next wind energy area auction will sell off six more lease areas totally than 480,000 acres in the New York Bight. These lease sites are shown in green.

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 and soon there will be additional parts that will dive into to the ocean, environment and more specifically fisheries. Then finally a part to outline topics concerning everyone; energy policy, economics and feasibility.

Stay Tuned For Part 2 Coming Soon
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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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