Library from New Jersey
A study will look into the possibility of constructing a wind farm in the Delaware Bay off the shores of three Cumberland County communities. The project was announced Monday by Toms River-based Delsea Energy LLC, after the company filed its initial permitting application with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Wind farms occasionally kill birds and their construction disrupts marine life, a new broad survey shows. But the results of the report will have no immediate effect on New Jersey's massive offshore wind projects, state officials said Monday. The 312-page report by the state Department of Environmental Protection offers few details on the overall impact of the almost 300 wind turbines slated to be built off the coast of Atlantic City.
Consultants for the state Department of Environmental Protection drafted the 312-page report, contending wind farms may limit recreational and commercial fishing and boating, disrupt marine life because of the current running through large electrical lines and temporarily destroy fish habitats as they are constructed. But they also said the turbine infrastructure eventually would act as artificial habitat for some fish, improving their survival.
New Jersey wants utilities to get 2 percent of their power supply from solar energy by 2020. Attempts to spur installations by homes and businesses through loans failed because of cost, Izzo said. Public Service also is asking state officials to help win federal approval for a remote, offshore weather station near the site of a proposed 350-megawatt wind farm, Izzo said. The tower needs to be erected by August to begin collecting data this year, he said.
Three companies will have to build taxpayer-funded meteorological towers miles off New Jersey's coast this year before state officials will allow them to construct the region's first offshore wind farms. The towers built by Garden State Offshore Energy, Bluewater Wind and Fishermen's Energy of New Jersey will monitor everything from wind speed to bird migratory patterns.
A state rebate program to help offset the cost of installing solar, wind and biopower technologies became re-energized this month - a key incentive to convincing more residents and businesses to commit to renewable energy projects. But a question of funding availability, the economic downturn and general uncertainty about the market are not giving some installers much optimism about the Renewable Energy Incentive Program.
Gov. Jon S. Corzine wants New Jersey to become the offshore wind power capital of the U.S., but an array of financial, environmental and other hurdles lies in his path. ...Several environmental activists say Corzine's 2012 target may be unrealistic.
The industrialization of the ocean, coastal overdevelopment, contaminated sites and global warming will be among the top environmental issues in the Garden State next year, observers said. "What we're seeing is a gold rush toward energy development in the ocean," said Tim Dillingham, executive director of the American Littoral Society, a Sandy Hook-based coastal conservation coalition. "We gotta take better care of the coast," he said.
Offshore wind farms are moving one step closer to reality, and three companies will take the same step at the same time. ...While the utility companies are glad to be moving forward, some environmental groups are concerned that moving multiple projects ahead at the same time might be risky. "There doesn't seem to be a comprehensive, step-by-step plan to achieve these 1,000 megawatts in an environmentally sound manner," said Jennifer Samson, principal scientist for the environmental group Clean Ocean Action. "We just really don't know how that's going to happen."
The two most popular projects in New Jersey - solar panel installations and more recently, wind farms - are expensive even with government incentives, some of which are being pulled back. ...Executives at Garden State Offshore Wind said they would probably have a hard time securing the $1.1 billion needed to build New Jersey's first 96 wind turbines. Environmental studies and regulatory hurdles will push off a huge capital expenditure by 18 months, company executives said.
How do the winds blow off the Jersey Shore? The state may offer up to $12 million in rebates for companies to find out, using offshore weather stations. Activists who want more environmental studies questioned whether that's the best way to spend the taxpayers' money, but a wind company spokeswoman supported the rebate idea.
Under the rebate program, $4 million per meteorological station would be awarded, provided the weather station is up and running in 2009, and it's for a wind farm that generates at least 200 megawatts worth of energy. Garden State Offshore Energy's proposed wind farm is expected to generate 346 megawatts when completed. The weather stations would collect data on wind speed, direction and other areas of interest to the companies deploying the wind farms.
The owner of the Wayne Auto Spa, who sparked controversy in proposing a wind turbine at his business, wants a judge to overturn new township zoning rules that prohibit the project. The Township Council adopted a zoning ordinance in September that bans wind turbines within 1,640 feet of residential neighborhoods, schools or day-care centers. ...Burke argues in court papers that the township should not be allowed to frustrate state policy objectives that promote the use of wind and other renewable energy sources.
Lance Miller, chief of policy and planning at the state Board of Public Utilities, which is steering the energy plan's implementation, agrees that the scope and scale of some of its objectives are unprecedented. Principally, these are the massive scale of energy audits planned for buildings, finding ways to finance the improvements needed in those buildings to cut energy use and getting utilities to buy into a plan where there is less demand for their power. "New Jersey is the first to do [energy audits] on such a big scale," Miller said of the inspection plan, which will cover 3.7 million buildings, of which 3.2 million are residential. At an average annual clip of 300,000 building inspections, Miller estimates the task would run through 2020.
Ongoing studies of birds, marine mammals and sea turtles off the Jersey Shore have found an abundance of life in an area where hundreds of wind turbines could be spinning by 2020, participants in a public meeting said today. ..."We're trying to figure out where are the areas of sensitive habitat, if you will, areas that perhaps we should think twice about or avoid before we build something," he said. "The objective here is to try and steer these facilities to areas where impacts will be reduced."
Instead of messing with farms, let's put solar and wind energy facilities where they belong. ...This legislation tries to satisfy one societal need - clean energy - by compromising another - preserved farmland. Perhaps it's easier to place clean power generation facilities on open land than retrofit other sites, but this tendency to look to greenfields to satisfy new development needs is precisely the kind of practice that has brought so much sprawl to New Jersey.
New Jersey is one step closer to bringing an offshore wind farm to the coasts of the U.S. Garden State Offshore Energy (GSOE), a joint venture between utility Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) Renewable Generation and Deepwater Wind, was selected by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities today to build an offshore wind farm far off the Jersey coastline. The proposed 350-megawatt wind farm would consist of 96 turbines nearly 20 miles offshore. GSOE will receive a $4 million state grant to help cover permitting costs and spur project financing though the final project, to be completed by 2012, will likely cost well over $1 billion, according to the state.
The minty ring of "live green" can look easy. But it's about more than recycling and taking one's tote bag to the grocer's. Trying to live green in New Jersey collides, environmentalists said Friday, with a warren of real-world twists and turns that make it harder than it looks.
Of the proposals under consideration, at least one would be off the coast of Ocean County, 18 miles from Long Beach Island. Although a study prepared for the BPU noted the impact of wind farms off the Jersey coast on the fishing and tourism industries would be temporary and relatively minimal, it indicated there was far greater sensitivity to the visual impact of wind farms in Ocean County than in Cape May and Atlantic counties. The BPU should take that into account. ...The projected loss of tourism revenue would drop off dramatically if wind farms were located 6 miles or more off the coast.
Ocean County could lose nearly $400 million in tourism revenues if a pilot project with wind turbines is placed 3 nautical miles off its coast, a new state-funded study says. But a wind farm farther offshore would have a much lower impact and would have a minimal economic impact overall if it were built off Ocean, Atlantic or Cape May counties. It could have a positive effect in some cases, according to the study by Global Insight, hired by the now-defunct New Jersey Commerce Commission. A project with dozens of wind turbines could be operating from 3 to 20 nautical miles off the coastline, from Seaside Park to Stone Harbor, in 2012. But most current proposals are for wind farms 8 to 18 miles off Atlantic or Cape May counties.