Will the proposed NJ wind farm hurt Long Beach Island?
With plans moving forward to build a giant wind farm off the coast of New Jersey, new questions are being raised about where the enormous turbines will be situated out in the ocean.
According to Bob Stern, the head of the LBI Coalition for Wind Without Impact, one of the major wind energy project locations is supposed to be 9 miles off the coast of Long Beach Island, which would mean 357 turbines, each one more than a thousand feet high, will be clearly visible from the shore, even in hazy conditions.
“Having them that close does create significant problems, you will have reductions in tourism, reductions in rentals, reductions in property values,” he said.
“This is extremely disturbing to not just residents who live here, but to all the hundreds of thousands of people who come here to see that seascape.”
People want something beautiful
He said people "want to see something beautiful and natural and they won’t be able to see that anymore" when they go to the ocean.
“There’s nowhere you can look to get a clear view of the ocean. There’s nowhere you can look to get a clear view of the sky," he said.
Trouble for whales and birds
Stern said another problem is the proposed wind farm site off the coast of LBI is right next to an area where the endangered North Atlantic Right whale migrates.
"The underwater noise [from the turbines] will now permeate their entire migration corridor with levels that the federal government says will disturb their behavior," he said.
He noted another serious issue is the proposed wind farm is going to be in the middle of the flyway used by migratory birds trying to get to LBI nesting areas.
He also expressed concern about the Department of Defense labeling part of the wind farm project area as an exclusion zone.
Will the wind farm impact national security?
Stern said repeated requests for clarification on this issue have been made to the DOD but answers have not been forthcoming.
He also pointed out that when these kinds of projects are done in other countries, wind turbines are placed a minimum of 30 miles out in the ocean, and sometimes as far out as 50 miles.
Stern, who served as the former director of the environmental compliance bureau for the federal Department of Energy, said his group has filed a federal lawsuit to block the wind farm from being sited so close to LBI.
He said he’s tried to arrange a meeting with the Murphy administration to discuss alternate site ideas but has never heard back from anyone.
A request for comment was made to the governor’s office but there was no immediate response Wednesday.
The LBI Coalition for Wind Without Impact is holding a wind farm presentation at the LBI museum in Beach Haven at 7:30 Thursday evening, on July 28. For more information, visit savelbi.org.