Majority of New Jersey voters support offshore wind development: poll

·3 min read
An aerial view of the Kentish Flats windfarm viewed show the wind turbine generators.

A majority of New Jersey voters support construction of offshore wind farms and see it as beneficial to the environment and state's economy, according to a new poll from Nexus Polling, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication.

Three-quarters of poll respondents supported offshore wind development and two-thirds thought it would benefit the economy, according to pollsters.

"New Jersey voters want the state to reduce climate change and increase clean energy," Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, said in a news release about the poll results. "They see offshore wind as a key part of the state’s energy future."

The pollsters also found that:

  • 64% respondents believe offshore wind development will bring good-paying jobs;

  • 58% believed it would benefit the state's environment;

  • 57% said it would reduce air pollution and help address climate change;

  • More than half said it would be positive for their electric bills and increase reliability of the electric grid.

"The poll results clearly show that New Jerseyans understand the benefits that offshore wind will provide to our state — in terms of the jobs that will be created and the Jersey Shore communities that will be protected from flooding and sea level rise caused by climate change," Ed Potosnak, executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, said in a news release. "We have an opportunity to lead the nation in creating good local jobs in the 21st century clean energy economy, and we look forward to working with the governor, legislative leaders and local communities in fulfilling New Jersey's clean energy goals and in positioning our state as a leader in this fast-growing industry."

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The pollsters surveyed 858 registered voters in New Jersey about their feelings regarding politics, offshore wind, energy and time spent at the Jersey Shore. The survey found that more than 8 in 10 New Jersey voters — including 91% of Democrats, 71% of independents and 72% of Republicans — believed offshore wind development was an important component in reaching the state's 100% carbon-free energy goals by 2050.

New Jersey's plan

In 2019, Gov. Phil Murphy laid out a detailed Energy Master Plan with a goal of reaching 100% carbon-free energy production by 2050. The plan involved favoring renewable energy sources, electrifying large portions of the transportation sector and developing 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy production by 2035.

Pollsters found that more respondents supported expanding renewable energy infrastructure, like wind and solar farms (68%) in New Jersey, than supported building more nuclear plants (9%) or natural gas power plants (11%).

"These results show that the people of New Jersey get it," said Edward Maibach, director of the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. "New Jersey and the United States are ready for a new clean, renewable energy industry that will generate thousands of jobs, improve public health and help protect our coastlines."

Amanda Oglesby is an Ocean County native who covers Brick, Barnegat and Lacey townships as well as the environment. She has worked for the Press for more than a decade. Reach her at @OglesbyAPP, or 732-557-5701.

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Renewable energy offshore wind support high among NJ voters: poll