Wind turbines off of Block Island

Wind turbines at Orsted's Block Island wind farm off Rhode Island, one of two commercial offshore wind farms in the United States. Credit: PennyJack Creative/Shutterstock

GAO Agrees to Study Offshore Wind Impacts in New Jersey, Says Congressman

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 610
June 20, 2023

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has agreed to investigate the various impacts of offshore wind farms under development off the coast of New Jersey, according to U.S. Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey.

The GAO has yet to confirm the study.

Smith and other representatives had requested the investigation after raising concerns about the potential risks and impacts of offshore wind turbines following a spate of whale and dolphin deaths along the East Coast. So far, there have been no links established between the deaths and offshore wind activities.

The investigation will examine a wide range of issues, including air and maritime safety, impacts to air traffic and military training, commercial fishing activities, marine environment and ecology, and the resiliency of offshore wind infrastructure to extreme weather events, according to Smith.

“It is absolutely critical that New Jersey residents understand all the impacts of these offshore wind projects—which will permanently transform our marine environment and seascape and could put our tourism-drive economy at grave risk—before it’s too late,” said Smith.

Smith has called for a pause in the offshore wind projects until the GAO concludes its study.

The request comes amid a growing chorus of Republican lawmakers in New Jersey who have come out against offshore wind development,

New Jersey aims to generate 11 GW of electricity from offshore wind energy by 2040, as part of a plan to transition to 100% clean energy by 2050. This would mean 30% of offshore wind energy produced on the East Coast would come from New Jersey.

New Jersey is also developing the New Jersey Wind Port, a purpose-built project that will help position New Jersey as a hub for the U.S. offshore wind industry and support up to 1,500 manufacturing, assembly, and operations jobs. The project broke ground in 2021, putting it on a path of becoming the first purpose-built offshore wind port in the country.

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