Library from New Jersey
The board voted 8-2 today, after two hours of public comment, in favor of Public Service Electric & Gas Co.'s proposed 45-mile, $750 million high-voltage power line project that opponents testified would ravage the land -- hurting flora and fauna -- and damage the region's natural beauty.
The federal government today issued five leases to allow wind-energy companies to explore the possibility of building wind farms off the coast of New Jersey and Delaware. In a news conference with Gov. Jon Corzine, U.S. Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar called the leases, the first of their kind issued by the federal government.
A growing number of advocates, among them Governor Corzine and President Obama, believe that energy efficiency and renewable energy could not only help the environment but replace jobs lost in the recession. Critics, however, say that's an expensive and unproven way to create jobs that will destroy jobs in other sectors, and in many cases will be little more than putting a green veneer on existing trades. "If you spend a billion dollars, sure you will create jobs," said William T. Bogart, an economic professor and dean of York College of Pennsylvania. "The question is, on net, how many?
Offshore wind farms dotting the Atlantic Ocean are moving further into the future as the federal government gets ready to launch its plans for regulating such projects across the country. ...The framework for how companies can develop offshore energy projects other than oil and natural gas is scheduled to be unveiled later this month.
The Department of the Interior has given Bluewater Wind approval to build a weather testing station off Rehoboth Beach. Bluewater Wind announced Wednesday that it has approval to build two meteorological towers off Rehoboth Beach and New Jersey's coast.
The proposed bill includes safeguards to ensure agriculture is the primary source of income on farms, said New Jersey Farm Bureau President Richard Nieuwenhuis, of White Township. Each acre of land devoted to renewable energy sources must correspond to 5 acres for agricultural or horticultural operations, according to the legislation. The State Agriculture Development Committee would have to sign off on the facilities on preserved farms, according to the legislation.
Michael Mercurio is waiting out the spring winds to meet the obligations of an agreement he made with the township to remove a wind turbine on his West Indiana Avenue property. Long Beach Township's master plan prohibits windmills in the township, declaring them "not appropriate for this municipality" for safety reasons. "We passed an ordinance against them because they don't work on small lots," Mayor Joseph Mancini said.
One of Bluewater Wind's top officers is leaving to join a competing offshore wind farm developer.
The three New Jersey wind developers thought they had the whole deal locked up. After years of study, the Board of Public Utilities had granted each of them not only its blessing, but $4 million apiece for more research. But then, along came a Seattle businessman, and suddenly the ocean wasn't nearly big enough to hold them all.
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.