Weighing in on Ocean Wind

Ocean City Sentinel, November 10, 2021

├śrsted reps spend over 3 hours in Ocean City answering questions about wind farm, hearing people support and condemn plan.

OCEAN CITY – Ørsted representatives spent more than three hours Saturday morning and afternoon answering questions about the Ocean Wind 1 wind turbine farm proposed off the coast of Cape May and Atlantic counties and listening to a wide range of speakers heartily support and thoroughly condemn the project.

The Danish company had about 10 different employees on or by the stage to respond to a wide range of questions posed by the crowd of about 200 people who came to the Ocean City Music Pier.

The event started with a PowerPoint presentation on the wind farm, which is now in the environmental review phase. Ocean Wind 1 proposes up to 98 wind turbines starting 15 miles off the coast in a lease area in the Atlantic Ocean that would be operational by 2024 if approved after review by federal and state agencies. It would generate 1,100 megawatts from the massive turbines whose blades would reach 900 feet above sea level.

Citizens and representatives of various groups took their turns at the microphones to ask questions, but most took the opportunity to offer their strong opinions on the project, prefacing their questions with statements of how they are for or against it. Other questions came in from online or were submitted on cards for the moderator, local meteorologist Dan Skeldon, to read.

Much of the opposition to the wind farm came from local residents angry about having to look at the wind turbines filling the distant horizon, asserting they will destroy the natural beauty of the Jersey shore, damage the region’s tourism economy and lower property values. They also questioned the wind farm’s value in the global fight against climate change.

Much of the support came from business and organized labor organizations who touted the project’s impact on providing jobs and economic development in the region. They, as well as citizens, both local residents and from other parts of the state, said they wanted to see this area at the forefront of green energy production.

The crowd was generally polite, with a little sniping, but dwindled as the meeting stretched deep into its second and third hours. Hearty applause often broke out as speakers offered their pointed opinions both pro and con.

Below are comments and questions from many of the speakers (not in order), ranging from residents telling the company to move the wind farm farther from shore to protect the local economy to former Gov. Jim Florio saying the project needs to move forward to protect freshwater aquifers from saltwater intrusion due to rising sea levels. Also included are answers by the Ørsted representatives.

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