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View of wind turbines threatens A.C. casinos

  • May 23, 2023
Press of Atlantic City

Regarding the recent story, "Atlantic City investments a must as New York casinos loom, gaming panel says":

A panel of experts expressed concern about the N.J. casinos' flat brickand-mortar revenues and higher costs, along with the next external threat, the expansion of the N.Y. casino market.

Improving the Atlantic City oceanfront destination experience was suggested to minimize the damage.

What was missing from this discussion? The biggest most serious external threat to the A.C. tourist experience is the hundreds of 1,000 foot high wind turbines, in essence an electric power plant, planned to be built starting 15 miles off the shore from Atlantic City. Gaining back brick and mortar gamblers, cannibalized by online gaming and more N.Y. competition requires ingenuity and foresight. But the foresight on the wind turbines and industrialization of the ocean view from their casino properties is curiously absent.

According to my research, the wind energy lease areas were decided in February 2012 before any studies on visual and tourism impact were completed even though the 2006 N.J. Blue Ribbon Panel Report on Offshore Wind — used as the guiding principles for designating offshore wind lease locations — stated that offshore wind and turbine facilities should not create an unacceptable aesthetic impact or impact to tourism. Later, scientific studies were cited, and surveys were completed but lacked external validity to the Jersey Shore experience and were based on outdated turbine technology (500 foot height versus 1000 foot height of current wind turbines). The studies' conclusions were no significant visual impact or tourism impact. It wasn't until 2021-2022 when the public saw and read about the devastating visual impact revealed in offshore wind developers' visual impact studies based on current wind turbine specifications. The view from casino ocean front rooms and restaurants will be dominated by a large and highly visible array of wind turbine generators. How the casino experts are not concerned about the visual impact on the Jersey Shore experience and the casino vacationers' decision to go elsewhere is mind boggling.

Suzanne Moore Brigantine

Charles Botsford, PE's picture
Charles Botsford, PE on May 25, 2023

At fifteen miles out, the earth's curvature completely obscures a 100-ft tall object from a six-foot tall person. Someone on the third floor of a Jersey Shore casino could potentially see the 500-ft tall hub of a wind turbine, but would they? I'm used to the vast vistas of the western US. Seeing the details of an relatively large object five miles away is a stretch for my eyesight, let alone fifteen miles. Even if Earth's curvature didn't completely obscure an offshore wind turbine, it might take eagle-eyes and a very clear day to see it. 

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