By MADDY VITALEOffshore wind developer Orsted laid out a plan during a virtual meeting on Tuesday to build a wind farm 15 miles off Atlantic City to the southern tip of the New Jersey coast, a project that would power half a million New Jersey homes and create thousands of jobs.The Zoom meeting, hosted by Kris Ohleth, senior stakeholder relations manager for Orsted, was the first of three set up amid COVID-19 to relay important details of the project to the general public.Prior to the pandemic, Orsted hosted meetings throughout the coastal communities, including two in Ocean City, to discuss construction of the wind farm and its potential impact, as well as advantages to communities, including job creation and bolstering the state’s renewable energy.Orsted officials say the project remains on schedule, with a completion date set for 2024.During the question and answer portion, attendees asked if the wind farm would be visible from the shoreline and if the blades of the turbines were audible from land. Others asked the cost of the project, if there were incentives available for coastal communities impacted by the wind farm and how many jobs would result.The next free session is Wednesday at 6 p.m. and this Saturday at 10 a.m. The public is invited to join by registering in advance at www.OceanWind.com.“This is an 1,100-megawatt offshore wind farm. The project is 15 miles south of Atlantic City and will create significant construction jobs,” Ohleth said at the beginning of her presentation. “We are excited to use the most powerful and efficient turbines in the world. Economic and community development are a hallmark of Ocean Wind.”After Ohleth’s presentation, attendees got the chance to enter different “stations” during the Zoom meeting. In the stations, they were able to hear from Orsted’s experts and ask questions about the visuals, design, economic development, environmental and permitting aspects of the project, how it affects fishing, shipping and navigation, as well as where the cables might be routed from the land into the ocean.“You will learn a little more about how exciting the job opportunities there are with offshore wind and how it can support thousands of jobs,” Ohleth said.Specifically, Ocean Wind would create 69 full-time jobs in operations and maintenance of its facility in Atlantic City to service the turbines during the lifetime of the wind farm. However, the big payoff would be the thousands of construction jobs created by the project.This rendering depicts what the wind farm turbines would look like on the horizon when viewed from the Ocean City shoreline. (Image courtesy Orsted)The project consists of 90 turbines in the Atlantic off the New Jersey coast, producing 1,100 megawatts of power. The turbines would be spaced about a mile apart in rows and built in deep water. The hub of the turbine would stand 511 feet tall, with blades increasing the height to a total of 905 feet, officials have said.The turbines would only be faintly visible on the clearest of days from the shoreline, Ohleth emphasized during Tuesday’s session.In one of the stations in the virtual meeting, landscape architect Terry DeWan explained through a succession of 10 simulations what one would likely see from different vantage points in coastal communities.“We wanted to show you what the project looked like in various sea levels,” he explained.One person asked if there was a possibility that the blades on the turbines could be heard.DeWan said no, certainly not from 15 miles away or farther, depending on the coastal community.Experts in the economic development station highlighted some ways funds would be available through a grant or trust to help small businesses in coastal communities. In addition, funding would be available for coastal infrastructure and resiliency projects.Attendee Harley Cummings asked, “You mentioned economics in general terms. What are the specific benefits to the communities impacted by the construction?”Ohleth responded, “We have exciting opportunities through a $15 million trust. All coastal communities are able to apply. We are constantly in contact with the mayors of those local communities. One of the intentions of the granting program was to make the funding available for coastal communities.”Attendee Robert Foreman asked what the cost was to manufacture and maintain the wind farm.“That is an interesting question. I do know that at Orsted, we are constantly striving to keep down the costs,” Ohleth said, noting that the attendees should visit the specific stations in the Zoom meeting to ask the question to the expert in the particular field.According to media reports, the estimated cost of the project is $1.6 billion.One participant asked how Orsted would mitigate the noise of construction.Ohleth responded, “Right now, we are still in the permitting phase. We submitted our construction and operation plan and the potential impacts of the project. It won’t disturb marine mammals.”Orsted’s schedule for the Ocean Wind project. (Image courtesy Orsted) Orsted’s proposed wind farm 15 miles off the New Jersey coast is being met with concerns in Ocean City. (Image courtesy Orsted)
Caps off to Saint Mary’s 2017 valedictorians, Elise deSomer, a studio art and English literature double major from South Bend, and Brianna Kozemzak, a computing and applied mathematics major from Eagan, Minnesota. The two will address the Class of 2017 at this year’s Commencement on May 20.Editor’s note: Kozemzak declined to comment.DeSomer said the welcoming and accepting College campus community consistently empowered her to do her best work.“The whole women’s college ethos is something really unique that I don’t regret at all,” deSomer said. “I love how the small-campus vibe is sort of like a small town. There’s something really nice about coming to Saint Mary’s and feeling like you’re at home.”The College fosters values of accountability and respect for others through its emphasis on small class sizes, deSomer said.“I’ve really learned a strong work ethic here — how to be accountable to professors and deadlines, not just because adhering to deadlines is important in a type of capitalist way but because your professors are humans,” she said. “You have to respect the interpersonal relationships between professors and students. You have to recognize the inherent worth and dignity of other people’s time.”Students should strive to engage socially while succeeding academically, deSomer said.“My advice would be to maintain a healthy study and social balance,” she said. “It’s easy to go to extremes in the opposite direction, so just know that you have to build those memories.”Having fun in college does not necessarily have to come at the expense of earning good grades, deSomer said.“Be adventurous,” she said. “Do things with friends, but still study hard. Study on the train to Chicago or something.”Her Saint Mary’s education exposed deSomer to the harsh realities women and other vulnerable populations face, she said.“It’s completely opened my eyes to the different types of oppression that women and minorities face,” deSomer said.She said she was reminded of the enduring sisterhood the Saint Mary’s community shares when she and students she tutored at the Writing Center walked back to their dorms together after late night sessions.“It just really reinforced that at Saint Mary’s, we have each other’s backs,” deSomer said. “We look out for each other. That’s provided me with really profound bonding experiences.”Last summer, she earned a Student Independent Study and Research (SISTAR) grant to study object-oriented ontology — a philosophical analysis of existence that views objects as equal — with art professor Krista Hoefle. DeSomer said this mode of understanding the universe calls into question the power dynamics that humans learn from young ages.“It’s a way of viewing the world without hierarchies,” she said. “It’s not just saying minorities are equal to the majority, or animals [are] equal to people or plants should vote, too. It’s just thinking of things from what we call a non-anthropocentric viewpoint.”Though decentralizing the human experience can sound intimidating, doing so fosters a deeper understanding of the inherent, useful properties of seemingly ordinary objects, deSomer said.“It’s just thinking of a democracy of objects,” she said. “It’s not saying that objects have colonies, and they’re like people too. It’s not anthropomorphizing. It’s just seeing the world in more of an interconnected mesh, rather than a hierarchal structure.”She said undergoing this research project was one of the defining moments in her time at Saint Mary’s.“It was really eye-opening, because what it asks of you is to remove your way of seeing the world that you’ve had since birth,” deSomer said. “There’s a plethora of worldviews that I didn’t even consider, and that’s really gotten me to open my mind about other theories.”Working alongside a professor prepared her for potential future collaborations, deSomer said.“The learning experience of working closely with another professor really prepared me for graduate level research, and showed me how to work in a collaborative, artistic and academic environment,” deSomer said. She said she plans to take these skills with her as she prepares to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) while continuing to schedule appointments for her photography business, Elise imagery. DeSomer said Saint Mary’s has left a lasting impression on her mind and heart, so she looks forward to giving a valedictory address.“I’ve been given this really nice privilege to be able to represent Saint Mary’s, and that means a lot to me because I love everything that Saint Mary’s represents,” she said. “I’ll miss this place.”Tags: Elise imagery, object oriented ontology, SISTAR, valedictorian, Writing Center
Just a matter of days after La Liga announced plans for its very first esports competition, it’s confirmed a partnership with McDonald’s.Together they’ve created McDonald’s Virtual La Liga eSports – alongside with the Liga de Videojuegos Profesional (LVP) – which itself is set up to be a gateway competition to find a representative in the FIFA 18 eWorld Cup.The first stage of the online qualification process will kick off on March 19th for both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 players, and is open to anybody over the age of 16. It will be played on ArenaGG, a gaming platform from LVP. There are 32 places available for the in-person final stage: 16 from Xbox, 15 from PlayStation, and the final participant will qualify through an exclusive tournament ran by McDonald’s.The second part of the tournament is set to commence on April 16th, and will take place at the LVP venue in Barcelona. The 32 participants who qualify will compete each and every week until they’re knocked out of the tournament. The winner of each event will make it through to the EA SPORTS FIFA 18 Global Series Playoffs. Players can sign up here. La Liga will also be partnering with department store El Corte Ingles, financial services company Allianz, car manufacturer Hyundai, and mobile network operator Orange for its first official foray into esports. Esports Insider says: It makes complete sense for La Liga to follow in the footsteps of other football leagues, such as Ligue 1, the Bundesliga, the Australian A-League, the MLS and others, in allowing the nation’s best players a chance to battle it out for a spot in the FIFA eWorld Cup. It’s a clever first move for La Liga Esports, and this collection of initial partners isn’t too shabby either.