Last Tuesday, Orsted, a Danish corporation, announced that it ceased development of its two offshore wind projects in New Jersey.
Our campaign against them began in July of 2021. That was when we helped Ocean City’s Tricia Conte, Councilman Mike DeVlieger and other residents, fishermen and business owners bring California environmentalist Michael Shellenberger to the Music Pier.
Orsted planned to build 98 giant wind turbines off the beaches between Atlantic City and Ocean City. It also planned to build 100 more in the ocean near Long Beach Island and Brigantine.
These 198 wind turbines would cost roughly $2 billion, or about $10 million each. They would not generate nearly enough useful electricity to pay for themselves. We would pay for them with massive hikes to our electric bills, plus new federal and state taxes. Any electricity they produced would also be very unreliable.
Every electric company in New Jersey rushed to install new “smart meters” so they could quickly shut off power to any homes or businesses they chose during “wind lulls” (periods of little to no wind).
When Michael Shellenberger spoke in Ocean City, he discussed his book Apocalypse Never. That book destroys every argument in favor of wind turbines with undisputed facts like these:
- There is no climate “crisis”. Recent temperature increases caused by carbon are slight. They can quickly and easily be controlled by getting more of our electricity from nuclear plants.
- Nuclear plants are safe and affordable. Storing spent fuel is no longer a problem.
- Wind is too weak, diffuse, and intermittent to power an electric grid, or modern society.
- Electricity from wind is wasteful and expensive because it needs a duplicate system of fossil fuel generators as backup.
- Orsted’s project killed whales and other marine life, and threatened to make the “right whale” extinct.
However, only about a hundred people came to the Music Pier to hear Shellenberger. Daily newspapers like the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Press of Atlantic City did not even mention the event. Neither did any of the Philadelphia TV stations.
Most political “experts” said Orsted’s ocean wind project was a “done deal” for many reasons:
- All daily newspapers, television news and online media overwhelmingly supported the Orsted project. They repeated the false claims of Orsted on a weekly basis and did not even mention Shellenberger or other opponents of the project.
- Stockton University and almost every public school in New Jersey taught their students to “fight climate change” by supporting wind and solar projects.
- Orsted hired a network of professionals and consultants to promote the project. It promised profitable contracts to politically active contractors and their unions. It gave money to Stockton University and various environmental groups.
- When Democrats controlled both the White House and Congress in 2021, they immediately proposed new laws to mandate “green energy” project and borrow half a trillion dollars to pay for them. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin delayed those new laws until August of 2022. Then Congress and President Biden approved the “Inflation Reduction Act”. This borrowed $370 billion for “green energy”.
- New Jersey’s Governor Murphy and his Board of Public Utilities and Department of Environmental Protection gave Orsted all of the permits, rate increases and other government funding it asked for. They included $300 million in federal tax credits that were supposed to reduce electric bills for consumers. Governor Murphy and Democrats in the legislature also stripped local governments of their power to deny permits to Orsted.
Last January, the tide changed. It began when whales and other marine mammals died suddenly and began to wash up on our beaches. This happened right after Orsted and Atlantic Shore, another ocean wind developer did underwater sonar tests before working on the ocean floor. This caused so much anger and opposition to Orsted by local residents that the media could no longer ignore them.
Hundreds of Democrats and Republicans all along the Jersey Shore raised funds and sponsored events to oppose Orsted. They included Save LBI in Long Beach Island, Defend Brigantine Beach, and several groups in Ocean City including Save our Shoreline NJ, Protect Our Coast NJ and Save the Whales.
This fierce bi-partisan local opposition to caused public support for ocean wind turbines to “plunge”. It also persuaded many Democratic legislators in New Jersey to withdraw their support for Orsted.
This battle is far from over. Governor Murphy announced he is determined to move forward with ocean wind projects. The federal government still has $370 billion of borrowed money to spend on projects like ocean wind. Our colleges, media, and public schools still promote the false claims of “green energy” and ocean wind on a daily basis.
We must continue to tell the truth and scientific facts of climate change and green energy. We must take back control of our public colleges and schools. We must promote nuclear energy and natural gas as much better alternatives to wind and solar.
However, we can afford to take a few moments to enjoy our victory. If we could succeed in undoing this “done deal”, we can also win on other issues.
LibertyAndProsperity.com is a tax-exempt, non-political education organization of roughly 200 citizens who mostly live near Atlantic City, New Jersey. Formed in 2003.