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League learns of wind-farm hearing; Thornton urges towns: use caution  

Credit:  By Al Campbell | Cape May County Herald | www.capemaycountyherald.com ~~

SWAINTON – Offshore wind turbines as electricity producers are advocated by the Murphy Administration. A Dec. 13 hearing in Atlantic City before the Board of Public Utilities was discussed at the Nov. 29 Cape May County League of Municipalities meeting.

Not so fast, seemed to be the tenor of comments at the session.

Vicki Clark, president of the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce asked municipal officials to forward to the chamber any official resolutions that their governments passed regarding offshore wind production.

“A lot of people are asking (the chamber) about that,” Clark said.

The Dec. 13 hearing to solicit public input will be at the Atlantic County Government Building (Auditorium), 1333 Atlantic Ave. Atlantic City, Dec. 13 from 6 to 8 p.m.

As stated by the BPU, the reason for the hearing, one of three in the state, is to gather input from stakeholders on the Offshore Wind Strategic Plan (OWSP) in response to Gov. Murphy’s Executive Order No. 8, which directs the NJBPU to fully implement the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act (OWEDA) and begin the process of moving the state toward the governor’s goals of 3,500 megawatts (MWs) of offshore wind energy generation by 2030.

“It is anticipated that the development of this abundant, renewable, and sustainable energy source will yield substantial environmental and economic benefits to the State of New Jersey,” the BPU release stated.

Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton recalled a prior presentation by wind-energy advocates before the board.

“How will they bring this energy onshore?” asked Thornton.

He noted the need for transfer stations, and asked about the impact on beaches.

“What I’m saying to you, we better have the answers. We’ve got to make sure we know all those things so we know what they’re doing,” Thornton said.

“We still have smart zoning,” Thornton continued as he urged barrier island towns that their prime tool in the matter would be planning and zoning boards when wind-energy firms go before them seeking approvals.

“We really need to look at the ramifications,” stated Stone Harbor Council member Joan Kramar. That governing body was visited Nov. 6 by representatives of Orsted, a Danish wind-farm firm.

Wildwood Crest Administrator Constance Mahon said when the same firm came to that borough, she invited Wildwood and North Wildwood officials to listen to the presentation.

There are two areas under consideration for the offshore turbines, one in the Atlantic City area, another about 16 miles south of Cape May Point.

While that is fairly distant, she noted that a turbine near Lewes, Del. can be seen from Cape May Point.

She said that the offshore turbine groups must be located more than 10 miles and less than 20 miles offshore.

“We are concerned,” she said and cited height, visual presentation, and “exactly what it will look like.”

She added there were two sides to the issue of wind turbines, great for the environment, “but we have to consider tourism.”

She added that the power was projected to go on shore at the Oyster Creek plant, a former nuclear power plant.

Source:  By Al Campbell | Cape May County Herald | www.capemaycountyherald.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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