Block Island Wind Farm in Rhode Island

Offshore wind turbines like the ones in the five-turbine Block Island Wind Farm off Rhode Island may soon grace the water off Atlantic City. The state is moving forward with plans to solicit 3,500 megawatts of electricity by 2022.

ATLANTIC CITY — Offshore wind farm developer Orsted worked with the fishing community in designing its proposed 800 megawatt Bay State Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts, and intends to do the same with its Ocean Wind project planned for off Atlantic City, a company biologist said Wednesday.

The company scrapped plans to scatter its 180 turbines to be most efficient in capturing wind, adopting instead a grid pattern at the request of fishermen. The patterned layout would be easier for fishing vessels to maneuver through and fish in, said Laura Morse.

Morse gave a presentation at a symposium on Fisheries and Offshore Energy at the American Fisheries Society’s annual meeting, which opened at the Convention Center on Sunday and runs through Thursday.

Developers have acknowledged the construction phase can disrupt fisheries with noise, heavy ship traffic, sediment increases in the water and other factors. But the operational phase is much less disruptive to fishing, they have said.

Orsted also added two transit lanes, each a mile in width, for vessels to use to get into and out of the busy fishing port of New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Morse declined to say how much less efficient the new design will be for generating electricity, calling the information proprietary.

Norway-based Equinor, which proposes to develop Empire Wind in the New York Bight off North Jersey, has used “statements of common ground” when negotiating with fishermen in the United Kingdom, said its representative Martin Goff.

“It’s an evolving document, an agreement between the developer and the fisheries group,” Goff said. “It lays out where we agree, where we disagree and what we will keep working on.”

Setting out key concerns in black and white prevents misunderstanding and assures fisheries groups a developer is committed to following through with promises, Goff said.

In May, Massachusetts awarded its first 800 megawatt contract to Vineyard Wind, but the state will issue another 800 megawatt contract in the next year or so, officials have said.

Bay State Wind is a joint venture between Orsted and Eversource, a transmission line builder.

Orsted has a lease for an area about 10 miles off Atlantic City and is competing with other offshore leaseholders for funding from New Jersey ratepayers to build as much as 1,100 megawatts of offshore wind capacity. The state Board of Public Utilities is expected to request bids from potential wind farm developers by the end of the year.

Fishing has continued in and around its wind farms in Europe, Morse said. “We want to be a good neighbor and coexist with the fishing industry,” said Morse. “We are not here to displace commercial fishing or recreational sport fishing.”

Contact: 609-272-7219 Twitter @MichelleBPost

Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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