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.
The most commonly voiced objections include the unknown effect hundreds or even thousands of wind turbines might have on the ocean, fears of higher electric bills as costs are passed on to consumers, and a sense that the entire undertaking is being rushed through with little understanding of what the consequences might be.
Adding to the unhappiness is a bill passed by the state Legislature and awaiting action by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy that, aside from granting them a public hearing, would remove virtually all control from local communities over where and how the power lines come ashore.
Many of the opponents, particularly in flood-prone Ocean City, say they believe climate change is real and that a warming planet and rising seas are threats that must be addressed.
And while many agree that continuing to burn fossil fuels will only make things worse, some opponents wish New Jersey would proceed more slowly and deliberately, learning as it goes.
Supposedly, building these wind farms will only raise citizen’s electric bills about $3. In other words, the reality is that this will go way, way higher. And you can bet that a lot of the opposition comes from people not wanting these giant wind turbines in their “backyards.” They do not want to look at them ruining the view. They do not want them messing with the fishing. It’s a lot of the old NIMBY, with a big dose of wind turbines being popular in theory, but not so much in practice.
A residents group called Go Green and Unseen wants the turbines moved 35 miles (56 kilometers) offshore so they will be invisible from the shore.
That’s some pretty deep water out there, and a serious run of transmission cables. I suggest NJ start by putting them up all around Trenton (the state capitol). And near the homes of the governor and state lawmakers. See how they like it.
“These first proposals off the Jersey Shore are massive and total over 1.16 million acres — about the size of Grand Canyon National Park, and a law is pending to block communities’ concerns,” said Cindy Zipf, the group’s (Clean Ocean Action) executive director.
Interesting. That latter part would violate the U.S. Bill Of Rights along with the NJ Constitution regarding protesting and redress of grievance, not too mention Free Speech.
Danish company Orsted said in a statement that it is “fully committed to growing the New Jersey offshore wind industry sustainably. Our teams have held multiple open houses and are committed to meeting with stakeholders in the community to educate them on the countless economic, environmental, and community benefits of offshore wind.”
NJ couldn’t find a U.S. company to do this?
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