Saturday, June 04, 2022

Life is full of tradeoffs, wind power vs. fishing edition

See U.S. Offshore Wind Plans Collide With Fishing Concerns off Carolina Coast: Interior Department auctioned off wind-power leases Wednesday in a spot one charter captain called ‘our creme de la creme’ by Jennifer Hiller and Katy Stech Ferek of The WSJ. Excerpts:

"The Biden administration’s plans to develop wind power off the East Coast are drawing concerns from the fishing industry, in the latest example of climate policy colliding with the livelihood of coastal businesses.

The Interior Department on Wednesday auctioned off the rights to develop a 110,000-acre site off the Carolinas to two bidders: affiliates of France’s TotalEnergies SE and North Carolina-based utility Duke Energy Corp. The companies won the auction with separate bids that amount to $315 million.

Commercial and recreational fishing businesses have raised concerns about the offshore projects, though the charter industry could see the biggest effects. Some areas opened up for development off the Carolina coast are home to an ancient reef and old shipwrecks that support scores of species of fish popular with recreational anglers, including bluefin tuna, mackerel, snapper and grouper."

"The site near the Carolinas is nearly the size of eight Manhattan islands about 20 miles offshore. It has the potential to generate more than 1.3 gigawatts of energy at full capacity within 10 years, enough to power half a million homes—roughly the population of Raleigh, N.C."

"Interior officials say they are aware of the fishing industry’s concerns and are working on regulatory guidance that would lay out how wind farm developers can minimize harm to commercial and recreational fishing, while compensating businesses for losses."

"Without federal guidance, offshore wind developers have carved out their own settlements with local fishing groups.

Developers behind the $2.8 billion Vineyard Wind project off the Massachusetts coast, scheduled to begin operating next year, made roughly $40 million available for the industry. In permitting documents, U.S. officials said commercial fishing businesses told them they expect to abandon the 75,000-acre area because it will be too hard to navigate. The developers projected the industry’s income loss at $14 million over 30 years."

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