By Brittany Garrison
Wind power is among the fastest-growing energy technologies of the 21st century, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. Wind power, an environmentally friendly energy source, is at the heart of a plan to build wind farms off the coast of New Jersey, including near Cape May and Atlantic counties.
Two wind farm projects are planned to be built off of New Jersey’s coast, according to NBC 10-Philadelphia. One is Ocean Wind 2, an 82-turbine wind farm owned by Ørsted Limited of Denmark, and the other is Atlantic Shores, a 110-turbine wind farm owned by European power companies Shell New Energies US and EDF Renewables North America. NBC 10 reports that the Ørsted Ocean Wind 2 will be about 14 miles off the coast of Cape May, while the Atlantic Shores farm will be about 10.5 miles off the coast of shore towns north of Atlantic City.
The two wind farm projects have been approved by the state, and would provide enough power for 1.1 million homes, the station reported.
The plan, however, has run into opposition from the local fishing and tourism industries. Representatives from the fishing industry argue that installing wind turbines will affect commercial fishing in the area, according to The Press of Atlantic City. Ørsted allegedly has not addressed the issues associated with potential negative effects on commercial fishing and the local tourist industry, according to representatives from those industries.
One of the representatives of the Cape May fishing community, Greg DiDomenico of Lund’s Fisheries, said, “The Ørsted energy community has not carried out an environmental impact analysis that will involve the community on what the negative effects of the installation of 90 wind power turbines could do to the local environment.
“This is a very complex issue, and there is more than one wind farm scheduled for development that will negatively impact ours and other New Jersey fisheries,” he said. “Due to the complexity of the problems with wind development, and the amount of time it takes away from our work as seafood producers, we work closely with and support the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance and their professional staff to communicate about these issues with the public, regulators and developers.’’
DiDomenico added, “Similarly, we support and work closely with the Responsible Offshore Science Alliance, organized to prioritize ecosystem research needs, and work with regulators and developers to ensure that we can understand the environmental impacts that will result from wind development in the ocean.”
Attempts to contact representatives from Ørsted Limited about this issue were not successful.
Representatives from the local tourism industry in Cape May County argue further that the wind power project will lower foot traffic in the area, while local officials in Ocean City are concerned they haven’t had access to the details of the project, according to OCNJDaily.com. Cape May County Tourism Director Diane Wieland told OCNJDaily that “a lot of people are concerned” because fishing, eco-tourism, and the beaches are all reasons people visit or live in Cape May County. More meetings and communication with Ørsted officials and the public are key to a successful co-existence, she told OCNJDaily.