NJ - Ocean environmental studies to be paid for in New Jersey by offshore wind developers
New Jersey's offshore wind developers will help fund research on marine life, paying $10,000 per megawatt of capacity to help New Jersey scientists better understand the impacts of wind farms on the Atlantic Ocean's ecosystem.
The state's Research Monitoring Initiative will direct a total of $26 million from the power companies toward the study of wind turbines' impacts on ocean wildlife and commercial fisheries, according to state officials.
"There's a lot of data that still needs to be better understood, both during the planning phases, but then also during construction and operation," New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette told a group of reporters during a virtual meeting.
The money will be distributed to research institutions across New Jersey with cooperation from the Regional Wildlife Science Entity and the Regional Offshore Science Alliance, two independent organizations focused on learning more about offshore wind impacts on the environment.
Earlier this month, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced it had completed an environmental impact assessment of a proposal to develop wind turbines on a nearly 800,000-acre portion of ocean off New Jersey and New York, an area called the New York Bite.
New Jersey's Board of Public Utilities has already approved two offshore wind projects off the state's coast: a 1,510-megawatt project, called Atlantic Shores, off of Long Beach Island, and two projects called Ocean Wind 1 and 2, that total 2,200-megawatts, lie off Atlantic City.
The Research Monitoring Initiative is expected to help identify the farms' impacts on vulnerable ocean species, such as the endangered North Atlantic right whale.