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County Details Opposition to Wind Turbine Projects

An aerial snapshot of the five turbines that make up Ørsted's Block Island wind farm in Rhode Island. Ørsted is the Danish company behind the Ocean Wind 1 project. 
Provided by Ørsted/File Photo

An aerial snapshot of the five turbines that make up Ørsted’s Block Island wind farm in Rhode Island. Ørsted is the Danish company behind the Ocean Wind 1 project. 

By Al Campbell

CREST HAVEN – In an eight-page resolution, one of its lengthiest, with 44 “whereas” paragraphs, Cape May County’s Board of County Commissioners, May 23, detailed its long-standing opposition to the Danish firm Ørsted’s offshore wind projects.
Ørsted North America Inc. was awarded a contract for Ocean Wind LLC June 19, 2019, by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) that allows the firm to use about 161,000 acres of the Atlantic Ocean “water and seabed” to build about 200 wind foundations, monopoles, and wind turbines in connection with Ocean Wind 1 and 2 projects. 
Those turbines will be in places “as close as nine miles from the shoreline in Cape May County, and many of the proposed 200 windmills will be visible from the beaches of Cape May County,” according to the resolution.
Among highlights in the resolution:

  • Ørsted Petition Two “sought to remove any local opposition to Orsted’s state environmental permit applications and sought to effectuate the taking of real property interests from the people of the County…and transfer them to the Danish offshore wind company.”
  • According to the resolution, the NJBPU, with five unelected members, “refused to allow the county…to engage in allowable discovery…and refused to allow the county to cross examine any of Orsted’s witnesses.” Because of that, the county sought to transfer the matter to an “impartial Administrative Law Judge.”
  • The county “observing that certain NJBPU commissioners had taken to wearing wind turbine lapel pins, and had made public statements describing Orsted as ‘partners’ of NJBPU, filed to disqualify the NJBPU inasmuch as it was clear that NJBPU could not be fair and impartial in deciding the outcome of the Orsted petitions.”
  • Ten (of 16) municipalities have joined the county in opposition: Avalon, Lower, Middle, and Dennis townships, North Wildwood, Ocean City, Sea Isle City, Stone Harbor, Wildwood, and Wildwood Crest.
  • The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) concluded in 2021 “that building multiple offshore wind farms in Atlantic waters off the East Coast…will essentially have no impact on reducing global warming.”
  • It cited a Harvard University study that concluded, “‘If your perspective is the next 10 years, wind power actually has, in some respects, more climate impact than coal or gas,’ Davis & Keith, Climatic Impacts of Wind Power, Joule, Volume II, Issue 12, P2618, December 19, 2018.”

Near the end of the document, the resolution notes a 15% reduction in tourism would be a devastating annual effect to the economy of Cape May County as follows: (All are calculated as 15% losses) Lodging, $458 million; Food and Beverage, $250 million; Recreation, $115 million; Retail, $120.5 million; Transportation, $77.5 million; State and local taxes, $77.3 million; Decline in visitors, 1.7 million; Tourism jobs affected, 5,915.
More from the resolution:
“It has now become apparent to the County…that Orsted does not appear willing to engage in serious discussions that would lead to modifications to their projects in order to protect the culture and economy of the people of Cape May County.”
It continues, “The county resolves that the installation of Orsted’s offshore wind projects, and other such projects, as currently designed and intended, will cause great harm to our marine environment and great harm to the tourism and fisheries sectors of our local economy and may cause harm to other sectors such as real estate.”
Finally, the county resolves, “That until such time that Orsted presents a project design that, to the greatest extent possible, mitigates the negative environmental and economic impacts of its projects, the County of Cape May objects to and opposes construction of the projects (Ocean Wind 1 and Ocean Wind 2). 

Other Action:

A Baraat Approved

The board permitted Hemal Patel to use Beach Avenue (County Road 604) in Cape May June 3 from Howard Street to Guerney Street from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. for a Baraat, part of a wedding ceremony. 
According to the resolution, Patel executed an indemnification agreement in favor of the county. Patel also notified the Cape May Police Department, which gave its approval.
A Baraat is a Sikh and Hindi tradition in which the groom rides in a colorful procession to meet his bride. He may ride a white horse, a luxury vehicle, or other means.  

Build the Fishing Pier

The board awarded a $319,230 contract to Collier’s Engineering & Design Inc. for construction engineering services to demolish the existing Grassy Sound Fishing Pier, replace a bulkhead, and erect a pier, with an estimated cost of $2.6 million. 
The board heard the firm’s engineers detail the project at its May 9 meeting.  

Second Tech Village Building OK’d

The board approved a shared services agreement with the Atlantic County Improvement Authority to award a $6.35 million contract to Arthur J. Ogren Inc. to erect a second building in the county airport’s Tech Village Project. 

$2.7M for Corson’s Inlet Bridge

A $2.7 million contract was awarded to South State Inc. for Corson’s Inlet Bridge rehabilitation. The firm was deemed the lowest of four bids received April 12.
For the same project, Remington & Vernick Engineers, of Wildwood, was awarded a $394,800 contract for construction engineering services for the bridge project. 

Court Server Room to Be Upgraded

The architectural firm Olivieri, Shousky & Kiss, PA (doing business as OSK Design Partners PA, of Collingswood) was awarded a $39,870 contract for design services for the county Superior Court building server room.
OSK officials presented at the May 23 caucus for revamping the county’s Justice Complex in the Crest Haven area. It would involve the Prosecutor’s Office and barracks, $16 million; a vehicle storage building, $1.4 million; and a warehouse, $2 million.  

Old Courthouse Exterior Work Rejected

The historic Courthouse building, a Cape May Court House focal point, needs exterior repainting and refurbishing. However, the board rejected bids for the work received March 29 and will “substantially revise” them before other bids are sought.  

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