Trenton - The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) hosted a virtual public scoping meeting in regards to the Ocean Wind Energy Facility off the Jersey Shore. BOEM shared an overview of the proposed offshore wind project and environmental review process, and gave the public time to provide testimony and ask questions. This was the first of three public scoping meetings that BOEM is hosting on this topic, with the next session coming on Thursday, April 15 and Tuesday, April 20 at 5:30 p.m.
The purpose of these meetings is to help BOEM determine the important factors to be considered in the Environmental Impact Statement that must be conducted before any offshore wind project can move forward with construction. The Ocean Wind Energy Facility is planned 15 miles southeast of Atlantic City and should produce 1100 MW of electricity, which is enough to power approximately 500,000 homes. This is the first offshore wind project in New Jersey, which is being developed by Orsted.
At the meeting, numerous stakeholders spoke out in support of Ocean Wind and a speedy Environmental Impact Statement process. Many pointed out the impending threats of climate change and the urgency with which New Jersey must shift towards clean, renewable energy. Others pointed towards Governor Murphy’s own goals for offshore wind power of 7500 MW by 2035. Beyond that, some pointed out that New Jersey stands to lose a massive amount of economic value from the impacts of sea level rise and flooding along our coasts due to climate change, and that shifting to wind energy will have a big hand in mitigating that. Others suggested the positive economic impacts of construction and maintenance jobs brought by a burgeoning offshore wind industry in the state.
Hayley Berliner, Clean Energy Associate with Environment New Jersey issued the following statement:
“New Jersey has established itself as a leader in offshore wind time and again, with the country’s largest offshore wind project, a sizable commitment to building 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035, and the development of the NJ Wind Port. We have another opportunity to lead here by moving forward with the largest planned offshore wind project in America and getting the first turbines spinning off the Jersey Shore.
“We don’t have time to waste. Rather than continue down the path towards catastrophic sea level rise and flooding, we can instead start to mitigate that by replacing our fossil-fuel power with clean, renewable offshore wind power. New Jersey is uniquely positioned to be the nationwide leader in this industry.
“We want to thank BOEM for holding this public forum and allowing us to make our voices heard in this critical climate issue.”