September 13, 2023
Six people were arrested in Ocean City, New Jersey on Tuesday after protesting the testing of wind energy turbines that will be used for offshore wind farms.
The protesters were arrested for blocking a street in an attempt to disrupt the energy project, according to the Associated Press. Testing proceeded uninterrupted despite the activists' objections.
The anti-wind farm protesters, none of whom are from Ocean City, were charged with obstructing public pathways and failing to disperse after police asked them to do so.
Construction and testing of the wind turbines is being undertaken by Danish energy company Ørsted. Tuesday's work was for exploring the route developers will use to run cables connecting the wind turbines to a power facility several miles away from the shoreline. Eventually, the wind turbines may be erected along the Jersey Shore in towns like Ocean City, which has become a hub of anti-wind farm activism in recent months. Ørsted has not yet decided whether to proceed with completing the wind farm project, pending results of tests and considerations over the costs and time involved.
Anti-wind farm activists say they object to these projects because they will have negative effects on the environment and are a costly eyesore that may hurt Jersey Shore tourism. They also claim that large offshore wind turbines have harmful effects on ocean wildlife like whales, dolphins and porpoises. Critics of offshore wind projects blame the construction of wind turbines for killing whales that have washed up on beaches in New Jersey.
Researchers say there is no evidence that the turbines are responsible for the whale deaths, which are likely caused by boats and other factors.
A majority of New Jersey residents support the construction of offshore wind farms, which provide a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional energy sources. A Monmouth University poll recently found that 54% of New Jersey residents support offshore wind turbines, while 40% are opposed.
The federal government has already approved the construction of 98 offshore wind turbines along the New Jersey coastline in Atlantic City and Ocean City, which would reportedly generate enough electricity to power to 500,000 homes. A second project that would expand Ørsted's footprint in New Jersey has not yet been approved.