Beach Haven resident Bob Stern has taken a keen interest in the Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind proposal to construct a wind farm off the coast of Long Beach Island and parts south to Atlantic City. And he’s not approaching it as a layman.
An aeronautical engineer, Stern worked for the U.S. Department of Energy in a capacity where he reviewed environmental impact statements on a host of projects.
During a presentation at the June 14 Beach Haven Borough Council meeting, Stern focused on a new website he helped launch, savelbi.org, as part of a group known as the LBI Coalition for Wind Without Impact.
Atlantic Shores is looking to build a wind farm on a lease with the U.S. Department of the Interior. The closest western, or near-shore, boundary of the lease is 10 miles from Barnegat Light and 9 miles from Holgate. The lease area has the potential to generate 3 gigawatts of offshore wind energy. Atlantic Shores plans to start onshore construction of substations in 2024 and offshore construction by 2025.
Stern said while the number of turbines to be constructed has not been determined, he believes it will be several hundred. And he said they could be easily seen from Island beaches, since they would be 853 feet high.
“These turbines will look like a wall of industrial structures that will be clearly visible at all times,” he asserted. “They will destroy our beautiful, pristine views of the ocean, not to mention our beautiful sunrises each morning. Beyond the visual impact of the proposed project and the unknown impact on our marine life, fishing and boating, the project will devastate our tourism-based economy, property values, businesses, legacy and unique Island life.”
Stern said that to protect LBI’s natural seashore and economic lifeblood, the coalition favors that Atlantic Shores’ proposed wind turbines are moved farther offshore and out of sight to the Hudson South Call Area, which is approximately 30 to 57 miles from the coastline.
He claimed the proposed location of the turbines would result in $300 million of lost tourism revenues annually and 18 percent fewer visits to the Island. Stern believes possible economic damages could lead to business bankruptcies and property foreclosures.
He said the turbines would also be located by the migration path of the North Atlantic right whale, which he said is an endangered species.
“Only 360 of these whales still exist,” he said. “Whales navigate by noise, and the noise generated from these turbines will result in great harm.”
Stern said the coalition is planning to discuss the project at a virtual program scheduled Wednesday, June 23 at 7 p.m. Registration information can be found on the website.
In addition, the group is seeking donations to help fund the coalition’s efforts to “mitigate the devastating environmental, visibility, and economic impact of Atlantic Shores’ wind turbine project.”
Checks made payable to Save Long Beach Island Inc. can be mailed to P.O. Box 579, Ship Bottom, N.J. 08008. —E.E.
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