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Wind farm ‘beauty’ is in eyes of few beholders  

Credit:  October 19, 2022 | Feedback | thesandpaper.net ~~

To the Editor:

I feel compelled to respond to the Oct. 5 Commentary titled “Turbines: A Welcome Sight Off Long Beach Island Coast.” Until reading the commentary, I did not realize how much the “beauty” of our shoreline could be enhanced by placing 357 1,000-plus-foot-tall windmills beginning just 9 miles offshore. That surprising sentiment puts the writer in an exceedingly small minority.

Only the developer of a utility, or those aligned with one, could speak so glowingly of a large utility placed where it will mar an existing pristine ocean view. At the same time, the writer says he is not concerned about the planned windmills because he does not see the horizon when on the beach – he stays busy with a book or smartphone or other beach activities. The writer does not explain how, at the same time, he manages to enjoy the sight of “container ships idling in the distance.”

The writer may have the skill to look past a stunning, unblemished ocean horizon that elicits the combined senses of steadfastness and wonder, but many of us do not possess that skill nor would we want to.

The vast majority find the prospect of a large utility within easy sight to be anything but beautiful. When the writer next comes to visit and gaze upon his beautiful windmills he may well be met by a torrent of traffic heading in the opposite direction as tourists and residents exit to find views of nature that are not so marred.

The writer minimizes the concern over visibility because, he says, the picture that appears on the “Move Them 35 Miles Out” signs placed by residents and Save LBI around the Island to raise awareness shows “how small the turbines from the proposed offshore wind farms may be.” What the writer does not understand is that the picture the foreign developers prepared that appears on the signs shows visibility at 13 miles out, not the 9 miles out planned for LBI.

Additionally, the picture necessarily shows the blades of the windmills as stationary. The actual blades will be rotating, which will make them that much more difficult to ignore. The writer also asserts, as noted above, that visibility concerns are overblown because the beautiful windmills will often be obscured by fog, rain and clouds. Hopefully, this is not a suggestion that we all just pray for bad weather.

Save LBI is attempting to convey a message that there is a place today for wind energy, just as the writer argues, but decision-makers should locate wind farms where they do not cause unnecessary adverse impacts. The wind farm developers and their sponsors can have their farm off LBI, just move it out to a location the developers already control and out of sight of the shoreline.

The commentary does not address other concerns that Save LBI is currently analyzing. One is the noise the turbines will generate when in operation and the extent to which that noise will be heard on the beach. Another is the impact to the local LBI economy from the currently planned project.

The Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management sponsored a study by the University of Delaware that found that 44% of those surveyed would have a worse shore experience with windmill visibility equivalent to what is planned for LBI and 19% said they would not visit that shore again. A North Carolina State University study found that 54% of prior oceanfront and ocean view renters would not return to such a beach even with a rent discount. These are clearly important considerations.

The goal of Save LBI and others of a similar view is not to prevent sensible green energy projects, but to ensure that all relevant information is available and considered when deciding where to site them.

Finally, the writer asserts, with no support, that the cost of moving the windmills out of sight of LBI will kill the project and projects like it because it will adversely impact financing and create permitting issues. Consider, however, that the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has already approved a plan that provides the developers returns from ratepayers that will fully subsidize the project. A small increase in cost spread over a large ratepayer base to “Move Them Out” and protect the economy of one of New Jersey’s greatest assets – Long Beach Island – is not too much to ask of our fellow New Jersey ratepayers and officials, many of whom also enjoy the Island.

Sandy Hoe

Brant Beach

P.S. To join and/or contribute to Save LBI in its effort to ensure that all relevant factors are considered and appropriately balanced in siting this wind farm, please go to the SaveLBI.org website and support the organization.

Source:  October 19, 2022 | Feedback | 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 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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