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Wind turbine visibility studies – more spin by Atlantic Shores 

Credit:  Wind Turbine Visibility Studies – More Spin by Atlantic Shores | By John Deitchman and Wendy Kouba | The SandPaper | July 06, 2022 | www.thesandpaper.net ~~

We were disappointed, but not surprised, by last week’s article in The SandPaper claiming that the visibility of the 1,048-foot-tall wind turbines off the entire coast of LBI will be “rare.” Very simply, those assertions defy the principles of geometry, the physics of light transmission and common sense.

For those of you who are not already concerned about what’s happening with the most visible modern wind turbine project in the world and the devastating impact it will have on our marine life, commercial and recreational fishing, tourism, vacation rentals and property values, please know you should be very concerned. And here’s why:

The Atlantic Shores “expert” quoted by The SandPaper claims that these massive, 1048-foot-high turbines will not be visible 68.6% of the time during the month of July at a distance of 9.02 miles. He claims this “fact” is supported by a new Rutgers study. However, this Rutgers study was commissioned and paid for by Atlantic Shores! And the results of the study have not been made public.

Atlantic Shores – the corporation owned by two overseas petrochemical companies – is now funding its own studies to support the story it wants to present, but these are not independent studies, even though they are being presented as such. There is a tremendous amount of money at stake for Atlantic Shores, in the billions, so commissioning studies to support its position and calm public concern is a small investment and a smart strategy. In the meantime, while it promises even more self-financed studies, it moves toward construction starting in 2024 (only two years away!) and 2025.

Atlantic Shores says it wants to be open and transparent in the process of educating the public. Such has not been the case. Not only is the visibility study that it is relying on to skew the facts not open to public scrutiny, but the simulations it uses in its construction and operations plan (COP) are cherry-picked in terms of location and weather conditions to obfuscate the truth regarding the visibility of these turbines:

• There is no visualization in the COP from Holgate, which is the closest point on LBI to the company’s first two projects. The visualization Atlantic Shores provided from Beach Haven, which is 13.5 miles from the nearest turbine, is shown before sunrise and yet the turbines are still clearly visible at that time of day.

• Atlantic Shores has provided simulations under hazy conditions from North Brigantine and Atlantic City, showing how turbines 9 and 11 miles from those locations would appear from the shoreline. This is very similar to what would be seen from LBI. To be clear, this simulation was provided by Atlantic Shores itself, and again, it is shown in hazy conditions. Decide for yourself: Can you see the turbines? Of course you can. Even in those overcast conditions the turbines are clearly visible. So, if the turbines are clearly visible in hazy conditions, what other conditions would make them not visible 68.6% of the time?

• Why not provide us with visualizations in clear conditions from the key shore points that are the closest to LBI? Atlantic Shores has been asked to do so, but it won’t. It has billions of dollars on the line and apparently is afraid that full disclosure might upset people.

• There is an earlier Rutgers draft study that is part of the Atlantic Shores COP and attempts to deal with the issue of impaired visibility, but it is grossly inadequate. That report presents “visible” times and “visibility distances,” but it never says what the object is that is visible or not, what “visibility” means, what a “visibility distance” is, or how that visibility was determined. Obviously, the visibility of a 1,000-foot-high turbine is something different than a small light source a distance away, or even the horizon line. So, unless they explain in any report what they are measuring and then show that their visibility setting – whatever it is – is the same as that of a 1,048-foot-tall offshore turbine, it has no relevance to looking at large wind turbines.

Atlantic Shores’ claims are in stark contrast with our own experience of living on LBI for 24 years, and we ask all readers to look to their own experience as well. Atlantic Shores says in its COP that the 1,048-foot turbines will be visible for 40 miles. That seems reasonable from the physics depending on the height of the viewer. It is also consistent with reports from local fishermen that the LBI water towers (around 160 feet tall) can regularly be seen at 10 miles offshore, and the former Revel hotel in Atlantic City (at 735 feet) can be seen at 30 miles offshore. So how often will that visibility be impaired sufficiently so that these massive turbines will not be seen at a distance of less than 9 miles from our beaches?

Ask yourself how many days, when crossing the bridge, can you not see the Atlantic City skyline, which is farther and much smaller than the planned turbines, or Barnegat Lighthouse, which is a fraction (one-sixth) the size of the turbines and roughly the same distance as the closest turbines. And with July upon us, let’s do our own assessment of offshore visibility and consider whether on seven out of 10 days such massive structures would not be seen, which is their claim.

Other visibility studies, including one done for New York state by the lead federal agency, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), have concluded that turbines 15 miles off Long Island would have a “dominant” visual effect on the viewer, meaning your eyes and brain can’t escape it. Starting at 9 miles offshore, our turbines will be much closer, and they will run along our entire coast.

Another visibility topic that has enjoyed less than full disclosure to the public is Atlantic Shores’ third project, for which a draft COP has been submitted to the BOEM but is not yet available for public review. That project is planned to be even closer to LBI and would potentially have an even greater impact on LBI, as it parallels the entire shore toward Barnegat Light. Significantly, this has not been openly discussed by Atlantic Shores.

As reported in last week’s SandPaper, Atlantic Shores recently hosted a Zoom call to review the visibility issue. But this was more an “infomercial” than a dialogue. One of us personally submitted three questions in advance as we were invited to do, and then followed with two questions during the event. Not one of our questions was addressed. So much for openness and transparency!

We are being sold on a flawed project that will devastate our marine life, commercial and recreational fishing, tourism, vacation rentals and property values. Save LBI is a nonprofit organization working tirelessly to get these turbines moved farther out to sea where they will have less environmental, visible and economic impact. Our website SaveLBI.org features important factual information on all aspects of this massive project. While on our site, check out “The Full Story” tab, which features visible renditions of the turbines under different weather conditions, the “Myths vs. Facts” tab, and read about the tremendous impact on severely endangered whales. Watch the replay of the event we hosted last year, featuring unbiased experts on multiple topics including fishing, the North Atlantic right whale, economics, vacation rentals and more. Check out the size comparisons between these massive turbines and the Eiffel Tower and other landmarks.

Go to SaveLBI.org and join us in getting these massive wind turbines moved farther out, where they really won’t be seen and will have less impact on the environment, fishing, boating, vacation rentals, home values and tourism.

John Deitchman is issues coordinator and Wendy Kouba is treasurer of Save LBI.

Source:  Wind Turbine Visibility Studies – More Spin by Atlantic Shores | By John Deitchman and Wendy Kouba | The SandPaper | July 06, 2022 | www.thesandpaper.net

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

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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