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    Meeting on offshore wind to be held MondayPro and con voices rally for Monday wind hearing in Ocean City

    October 3, 2022 - BILL BARLOW Staff Writer


      OCEAN CITY - In the long and ongoing fight over offshore wind, people for and against plan to attend a Monday meeting set for 6 p.m. at The Flanders Hotel, 719 11th Street.

      Ocean Wind is in line to be the first major wind energy project off the New Jersey coast, with tall turbines expected to be visible off Ocean City.

      Monday will be a hearing held by Ocean Wind on a tiny portion of that plan, a petition with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to allow the project to use a little more than a half-acre of land owned by Ocean City and listed as part of its open space inventory under the state Green Acres program.

      The plan is to run a power line from the wind farm under the beach and across Ocean City, then on to the site of the former B.L. England power plant in Upper Township to enter the power grid. The line would run under the public beach at 35th Street, as proposed.

      The wind farm is projected to generate enough electricity to power a half-million homes.

      "We have to be able to connect that power from offshore to the families and businesses onshore," said Ed Potosnak, the executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. His is one of the groups working to get wind power supporters into the Flanders for the hearing.

      A significant number of Ocean City residents oppose the offshore wind proposal, citing concerns with views and the potential environmental impact. Yard signs throughout the community show opposition to the project.

      There are local supporters as well.

      Potosnak and others argue that shore communities are going to face the biggest hit from rising seas and future storms and so should be the most motivated to reduce carbon emissions.

      So far, city officials have remained skeptical.

      "Frankly, Ocean City's position at this point is that Ocean Wind's presentations thus far in this matter have been either incomplete or not credible," city administrator George Savastano said at a September City Council meeting. He said the city wants decisions on the project to wait until environmental impact statements have been finalized.

      Savastano spoke about both the Monday hearing and an earlier hearing by the Board of Public Utilities on easements for county property.

      In June, City Council unanimously approved a resolution opposing the granting of the easements. The city has suggested looking at other potential routes for the lines. A year earlier, officials in the city reacted angrily to a state bill that took the decision out of their hands.

      At the time, then-Senate President Stephen Sweeney said the bill to give the BPU the decision was aimed at keeping Ocean City from derailing the offshore wind project.

      "The city's position was and is that there remain open questions and issues relative to the project that should be addressed before approving the utilization of public lands and right-of-ways," Savastano said at a September meeting of City Council.

      Residents opposing the project have also sought to encourage them to turn out at the Monday meeting.

      On Sept. 28, the Board of Public Utilities found that the easements across the Green Acres land were reasonably necessary for the project. That vote was unanimous.

      The Danish energy company Ørsted owns 75% of Ocean Wind, with PSE&G holding a 25% share. The proposal is to build almost 100 wind turbines about 15 miles off the coast, with more on the way as part of Ocean Wind 2 and other offshore wind projects.

      As Savastano pointed out, Gov. Phil Murphy recently rescinded an earlier executive order, increasing the goal for offshore power to 11,000 megawatts by 2040.

      "Extreme weather events and severe flooding across the country leave no room for doubt - the effects of climate change are becoming more impactful and more aggressive, and we must do the same," Murphy said in announcing the change on Sept. 21.

      Those who can't make the Monday meeting can comment on the Green Acres diversion by writing to 600 Atlantic Ave., Suite 2, Atlantic City, 08401 or by email at

      Contact Bill Barlow:609-272-7290bbarlow@pressofac.comTwitter @jerseynews_bill


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