Work on offshore wind farm begins, but some NJ groups are fighting the plan
The construction of a facility that will build wind turbines for offshore wind farms broke ground this week, but there are still some groups that are pushing back against the plan.
The plan for wind energy includes building 98 wind turbines off the Jersey Shore coast. The $1.6 billion wind farm is known as Ocean Wind and is a partnership with Orsted and PSE&G.
“The construction activities will be done outside of the summer tourist season,” says PSE&G vice president of development Lathrop Craig.
But there are some groups in New Jersey who are against the wind farm.
“The level of awareness is just beginning to grow here, but most people not even knowing that these are proposed,” says LBI Wind Without Impact leader Jim Binder.
Binder’s group is fighting to preserve the ocean in its current state. He says that the turbines may not be cost effective and threaten endangered species.
“Our research shows that the right whale migrates through this area. There are only about 300 or 400 that still remain. They are on the threatening endangered species list,” Binder says.
Some fishermen also say that the wind farm will impact their businesses.
“It’s difficult for the fishermen that are working those lease areas and if they lose their access then they’re done,” says fisheries liaison officer Kevin Wark.
Wark says that his task is to educate big energy and government entities on the impact turbines have on the fishing community. He also wants to facilitate a compromise between all interested parties as future projects are created.
“We won’t have a solvent commercial fishing industry in New Jersey if we don’t protect these fishing boats,” he says.
Construction on the wind farms is not expected to begin until 2023 with full commission by 2025.
Ocean Wind is expected to generate enough power to service 500,000 homes in the region.