Offshore wind project creates renewed controversy at Jersey shore community

More controversy is surrounding offshore wind projects along the Jersey shore after the feds approved a plan earlier this week and activists say it can’t happen.

Change is blowing in the wind down the shore and not everyone is happy about it.

This week the Biden administration gave the green light to what would be the first wind energy farm off the coast of the New Jersey.

The company, Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, wants to build up to 200 offshore turbines on more than 400 square miles about eight and a half miles off the coast of Atlantic City. The turbines would be visible from Long Beach Island south to Ocean City. The company says, when completed in the next decade, the project would be able to power more than a million New Jersey homes and businesses by wind alone. But not everyone is onboard.


US gives key approval to Atlantic Shores offshore wind farm in New Jersey

The U.S. Interior Department approved the proposed Atlantic Shores offshore wind farm in New Jersey on Tuesday, giving a major boost to a project that would be the state's first.

"Everybody in town is against the windmills. I have not met anyone yet who is for the windmills," says Nancy McGinnis of Ocean City.

McGinnis is fuming over the decision by the U.S. Department of Interior to approve the proposed wind farm.

According to the Department of Interior, "The Atlantic Shores South Wind project consists of two wind energy facilities - Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind Project 1 and 2 - and associated export cables, which are expected to generate up to 2,800 megawatts of electricity, enough to power close to one million homes with clean renewable energy."

Some say the project may end up hurting the environment.

"You’ll be able to see them quite well. They are only eight and a half miles, but they are a thousand feet tall," says Robin Shaffer, the President of Protect Our Coast NJ.


His organization is fighting against the plan. He says the view of turbines from the beach is the least of his concerns.

"It’s going to destroy livelihoods. It’s going to hurt the fishing industry across the state of New Jersey. It’s going to hurt small business owners. It’s going to our property values," he added.

Atlantic Shores Wind declined an on-camera interview, but tells FOX 29 the project is expected to create up to 50,000 new jobs, have a $2 billion economic impact and be the environmental equivalent of taking 800,000 cars off the road every year.

But critics say the environmental cost to building this kind of renewable energy may be doing more harm than good. Shaffer also says taxpayers may end up paying a lot more in energy rates.

"This is not some big science experiment for Governor Murphy or the Biden Administration," Shaffer said.

The company says it expects to have a construction plan in place by the fall, along with more approvals from the state. But, in reality, it could be years before turbines are constructed and power is generated. Beachgoers like Nancy McGinnis hope they'll never see the day.

"It ruins the environment, hurts the whales and dolphins, washing up and dying. We don't want to look at a bunch of windmills. Green energy is not green. It’s a scam."