On November 9, 2015, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) held “Atlantic Wind Lease Sale Five” (ATLW5) for the Wind Energy Area (WEA) offshore NJ.The NJ WEA is about 343,833 acres, which includes the South Lease Area consisting of 160,480 acres and the North Lease Area consisting of 183,353 acres.
Offshore wind in North America is still a very new frontier, as the only construction on the first U.S. project began this July off Rhode Island. The NJ sites may provide up to 3,400 megawatts of wind energy from offshore turbines if fully developed; enough electricity to power 1.2 million homes according to the U.S. Energy Department.
COA supports the responsible siting and development of offshore wind. However, there are numerous environmental impacts that offshore wind presents, including seismic testing and construction noise impacts, habitat disturbance, water quality and turbidity issues, vessel traffic, animal migration and behavior disturbance, and the displacement of commercial and recreational fishermen from traditional fishing grounds. COA takes these threats seriously, and will strive to balance these concerns against the inherent benefits and need for renewable energy technology.