New Jersey Must Look Elsewhere for Renewable Energy
“With almost 140 miles of coastline, New Jersey is in a unique position to be the leader in this growing field. This legislation seeks to set goals pertaining to wave and tidal energy in the State’s Energy Master Plan which bring the State one step closer toward achieving net-zero emissions and 100% renewable energy by 2050.” (Offshore Energy)
As outlined in the Murphy Administration’s 2050 Energy Master Plan, The state of New Jersey has the ambitious goal of achieving net-zero emissions and 100% renewable energy by 2050. Currently, off the coast of the state, wind turbines will be built to help achieve this lofty goal; however, there are better, less destructive methods of renewable energy that should be considered before we commit to the windmills.
There are numerous reasons as to why we should reconsider wind turbines. Most immediately- the turbines would spoil the ocean views which will discourage tourism due to the noise from construction and the physical visual blockage from the turbines themselves, fishing boats will avoid the farm area, and the foreign structure may increase the chances of ocean accidents from the increased aquatic congestion. There has also been a recent report from the Wall Street Journal that creaky Siemens wind turbines off the coast of Cape May have been making shares drop as the material is wearing out faster than expected. (WSJ) New Jersey’s shore is capable of producing vast amounts of energy that can be sent nationwide, thus explaining why choosing the best offshore method of renewable energy is such a pressing issue for the state.
While there are a lot of downsides to coastal wind turbine energy, 750mw of energy can be produced from the shore, which is equivalent to 66% of all electricity currently generated in the United States, according to Eco Wave Power. One alternative energy source that has not been receiving much attention in New Jersey is wave power. Wave energy should be used instead of wind turbines when discussing the possibilities of how to utilize the coast. Wave energy is renewable, environmentally friendly, abundant, has a variety of ways to harness it, dependable, does not rely on foreign oil/ foreign companies for alternative energy methods, and causes no damage to land. It is also more durable than wind turbines.
Despite all the benefits of wave power, the large machines that will need to be built to harness its energy disturb the seafloor, change the habitat of near-shore creatures (like crabs and starfish) and create noise that disturbs the sea life around them. There is also a risk of toxic chemicals necessary for the machine to run, potentially polluting the sea.
It is imperative that however New Jersey chooses to create renewable energy, that the health of the ocean comes before any other advancements.
The author is a member of GSI’s Summer Inernship program and is a student at the Univeristy of Virgnia McIntire School of Commerce. She is a resident of Mountain Lakes , New Jersey.