Offshore Wind Study Shows Minimal Env. Impact

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"there would be minimal environmental impact at sites proposed for several wind energy projects off the coast of the state."

A two-year research project led by the New Jersey Department of the Environment shows there would be minimal environmental impact at sites proposed for several wind energy projects off the coast of the state.

The draft final report indicates there would be negligible impacts to bird, fish and marine mammal life caused by wind turbines, which could be located from three to 20 miles offshore, from Barnegat Bay to Hereford Inlet off the coast of Atlantic, Ocean and Cape May counties.

"We now have the science and data needed to take the first steps towards making wind energy projects a reality for New Jersey,'' said NJ DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. "It puts us in the forefront environmentally, while also providing New Jersey with a great economic boost from jobs that will be created by this new green industry.''

The study area included 75 miles of coastal area from Seaside Park to North Wildwood, and explored approximately 1,360 square nautical miles. It looked at the abundance, distribution and migratory patterns of avian species, fish, marine mammals and sea turtles. It factored in shipping lanes, pipelines, tug and barge transit routes and undersea utility lines, while mapping artificial reefs, commercial and recreational fishing areas, and marine protected areas.

The results can be used to support evaluation of a pilot turbine project proposed by Fisherman's Energy that would be located some three miles off the coast, as well as three lease areas approved by the federal government for future meteorological studies to be done by three private companies at sites 8 miles, 16 to 18 miles, and 20 miles off the coast.

"Having the data from this study puts us far ahead of everyone else on a technology that is better for the environment and will help the state's economy,'' Commissioner Martin said.

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