April 28, 2022
New Jersey

Survey says: visible offshore wind turbines would impact LBI economy

Survey Says: Visible Offshore Wind Turbines Would Impact LBI Economy | By Gina G. Scala | The SandPaper | April 27, 2022 | www.thesandpaper.net

Only 50% of previous Long Beach Island renters said they would plan another vacation to the barrier island if offshore wind turbines were visible from the shoreline, according to a recent online survey.

The survey, which polled 10,000 individuals who vacationed on the Island in the past, was based on a March 2018 University of Delaware survey, titled Atlantic Offshore Wind and Development, sponsored by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. It was conducted by Save Long Beach Island Inc., a nonprofit, nonpartisan corporation that represents more than 1,000 property owners, businesses and visitors.

“That is consistent with a previous survey done by North Carolina State University that showed for beach town goers there, 46% would return to the same town and rent again if turbine were present,” Bob Stern, president of Save LBI, said in a statement accompanying the result findings.

The survey found 10% of those polled said they would plan a different vacation rather than visit any New Jersey beach town. That’s consistent with the 8.5% result in the BOEM-sponsored study, according to Save Long Beach Island survey.

“And it’s important because it represents a statewide loss in coastal tourism and rental revenue,” he said.

When the BOEM study’s beach town and statewide loss predictions were applied to shore tourism job numbers for the LBI wind project’s construction and operations plan, it resulted in 1,100 job losses for the barrier island and 500 additional jobs elsewhere in the state, according to Stern.

“These results do not bode well for shore rentals, tourism and jobs, not only for LBI, but for the state as a whole,” Stern said.

Atlantic Shores plans to start onshore construction of substations in 2024 and offshore construction by 2025. The project is a 50-50 partnership between Shell New Energies US LLC and EDF Renewables North America. It was formed in December 2018 to co-develop nearly 183,353 acres of leased sea area on the Outer Continental Shelf, located within the New Jersey Wind Energy Area.

The proposed project off LBI would, to date, place up to 200 Vesta-236 gearbox turbines, standing 853 to 1,046 feet above sea level, 9 to 20 miles offshore.

“Only 3% (of those surveyed) said the turbines could be placed closer to shore,” according to the results of Save LBI’s survey. “Seventy-one percent said they favored having the turbines sited farther out where they cannot be seen.”

Part of the grassroots organization’s mission is to relocate turbines to areas where environmental and economic problems can be avoided while still allowing for offshore wind energy.

“That change requires public support, persistence, work efforts and money to support legal intervention as needed,” according to the organization’s mission statement.

In January, Save Long Beach Island, formerly known as LBI Coalition for Wind Without Impact, made good on its intention to sue the federal government for what it says is the failure to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act and the U.S. Endangered Species Act during its selection process for turbine placement.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court, District of Columbia. BOEM, which falls under the Department of the Interior, is the defendant.

“Our lawsuit is directed to BOEM’s most recent adoption of wind energy areas in the New York Bight, which includes the farther out Hudson South area,” Stern, a Beach Haven resident and former director of environmental compliance for the U.S. Department of Energy, has said previously. “However, our suit also links the EIS (environmental impact study) to be conducted for those outer areas to the N.J. wind energy area (which includes both projects off LBI and Atlantic City) because development there is ‘connected’ to those outer areas in terms of meeting state energy goals, having common impact areas, electric markets and timeframes, and to address cumulative impacts.”

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2022/04/28/survey-says-visible-offshore-wind-turbines-would-impact-lbi-economy/