Articles from New Jersey
New Jersey lawmakers are contemplating a bill that defines solar and wind energy generation as agricultural activity. The measure aims to promote alternative energy sources, but has been criticized as a possible danger to farmland preservation efforts. The bill would allow the owners of preserved farmland to construct, operate and install solar or wind energy facilities or equipment on their farms. The generated power could be used to operate the farm or be sold to a utility company. The law also would protect solar and wind power generation on farms from nuisance complaints from neighbors, similar to protections farmers have from complaints about the smell of manure, for instance.
At least two groups want to build wind turbines off the Atlantic City coast to provide an alternative source of energy and become the first offshore wind farm in the United States. Bluewater Wind wants to erect 116 wind turbines about 15 miles off the Atlantic City coast, and approached the Atlantic County Board of Freeholders last month to pitch their project. Also in the running is a group headed by commercial fishermen calling itself Fishermen's Energy of New Jersey, which would have 74 turbines. Atlantic City Mayor Scott Evans endorsed the concept on Tuesday.
A surcharge on electric bills in Delaware and surrounding states that was designed to increase generating capacity hasn't delivered on its promise, four states are arguing in a complaint filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The states of Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania filed the complaint late Friday, together with a coalition of electricity buyers and consumer advocates. They say the surcharge will overcharge electricity consumers in the 13-state territory in the PJM Interconnection grid by $12 billion between 2008 and 2011. As a share of that, Delmarva Power ratepayers in Delaware will overpay by about $125 million in "unjust and unreasonable" rates, the states claim.
File this one under if you can't beat ‘em, join ‘em. A group of commercial fishermen wants to get in on the rush to build offshore wind farms to generate electricity. It's an interesting about face for the fishing industry, which has traditionally fought offshore industrialization - other than their own floating seafood factories, that is. ...The effort is attracting attention in New Jersey, where the state is looking to provide grants for a pilot offshore wind farm. ... Meanwhile, if Trenton doesn't take the bait, perhaps Providence will. Last Friday, Fishermen's Energy filed one of seven proposals to build a windfarm off the coast of Rhode Island.
The plane crash that killed two people and injured two more Saturday was the second fatal accident in less than a week involving researchers studying the effects that off-shore wind turbines might have on the environment. On May 12, a crewmember of a Flemington-based research vessel, studying the effects of a planned wind farm off the coast of Rehoboth Beach, Del., was killed when the vessel broke apart and washed ashore during a northeaster.
Governor Corzine's energy master plan for New Jersey calls for a reduction of 20 percent in energy consumption by 2020. It also proposes that by that same year, just 12 years hence, 22.5 percent of the state's electricity should come from renewable sources, chiefly wind and solar, up from 2 percent now. Further, New Jersey emissions of greenhouse gases should be reduced by 20 percent. These goals are remarkable. Energy use has been growing steadily. Nearly half the state's power plants are 30 years old or older. Some will have to be replaced, sooner or later. ...Some interesting things are happening, but as for the 2020 goals set by Corzine, he, and we, had better not get our hopes up.
By 2020, solar panels could be commonplace in New Jersey, wind turbines should be spinning offshore, and new nuclear cooling towers might rise in Salem County. That is the vision contained in the first draft of a state Energy Master Plan offered yesterday by Gov. Corzine. New Jersey also should be using about 20 percent less electricity by then, even though demand is currently growing more than 1.5 percent per year, the plan concludes. ..."One of the most important things in this plan is the recognition that even if all the efficiency, conservation and renewable-energy programs are a success, there will still be a . . . shortfall in the amount of energy necessary," said Steven Goldenberg, a Fox Rothschild L.L.P. lawyer who represents the New Jersey Large Energy Users Coalition. That group includes 25 of the state's biggest energy consumers.
The Corzine administration unveiled its long-awaited energy master plan yesterday, a blueprint that calls for dramatic changes in the state's energy policies but concludes there is no silver bullet to ensure the state maintains a reliable and affordable source of electric power. It calls for more wind farms and a more aggressive effort to install solar panels on homes, businesses and government buildings. It recommends sharply curbing energy consumption through a variety of means, from putting up buildings that use less energy to installing so-called smart meters to help residents better manage energy use and cut their bills. And it suggests another nuclear power plant ought to be seriously considered. What it does not promise is to rein in runaway electric rates.
The idea of wind turbines rising up to 500 feet above the Atlantic within sight of New Jersey's beaches is already drawing opposition from some environmentalists and tourism advocates. "It's troubling they are planning to put a huge number of turbines out in the ocean in the absence of environmental assessments of what the impact will be," said Tim Dillingham, executive director of the American Littoral Society, one of the oldest marine preservation groups in the state. "There also are some very hard questions about whether they are economical and what is the impact on ratepayers." Economics have proved to be the biggest hurdle to developing offshore wind farms. ...Even on land, wind farms can't generate electricity as cheaply as most conventional power sources. ...Public Service Enterprise Group, a Newark-based energy company that owns the state's largest utility, submitted one of the five proposals to build a wind farm off Atlantic County. The estimated project cost: $1 billion, nearly twice what it costs to build a conventional power plant that can generate even more electricity.
A Japanese firm and a Bayonne company are two additional groups that state utility regulators would look toward when they select a proposal for building a giant wind farm off Atlantic and Cape May counties. The groups' proposals are among five that the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities received early last week. At that time, the BPU had not confirmed any of the submissions, and only three of them - one by power supplier Public Service Enterprise Group, another by a Cape May County fishing consortium and a third by a Hoboken firm - were publicly known. Meanwhile, a committee to evaluate all five bids could be identified at the BPU's meeting Wednesday.
In an attempt to help meet Gov. Jon Corzine's targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the state, several developers submitted proposals last week to construct offshore wind farms. If a proposal is accepted, it would be the first offshore wind farm in the United States ...Given that the projected cost of a proposal could reach $1.4 billion, there is a concern as to who will pay for the construction of the wind farm. The developer will outlay the cost. If the project is not subsidized, the high original cost would most likely be passed along to the energy consumer.
New Jersey's largest power supplier is competing with Bluewater Wind and a group of commercial fishing companies for the right to build a wind farm off the coast of the Garden State. PSEG announced this week that its renewable generation division, and a partner company, Winergy Power Holdings, has bid to build a 96-turbine wind farm off the coast of Cape May and Atlantic counties. The company said it would be 16 miles offshore. ...The results of the bidding competition could have implications for the proposed wind farm off the Delaware coast. Bluewater proposed building a regional hub for offshore wind turbine construction in Delaware, but if a different company wins the New Jersey bidding, the hub may lose out on that business.
The proposals, which envision the construction of up to 116 wind turbines rising hundreds of feet above the water, would help the Corzine administration reach ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gases, while shifting electricity production to cleaner sources of energy, such as wind and solar power. It is a big bet. With project costs running upwards of $1 billion, the projects need to overcome numerous environmental and economic hurdles at a time when the commercial feasibility of wind power remains a question, industry analysts said. There are no off-shore wind farms operating in the United States, and several projects, including one off Jones Beach in Long Island, have been canceled because of high costs.
Charting the state's energy future is proving to be more difficult than anticipated. The Corzine administration is delaying the release of the first energy master plan in more than a decade because of an intensifying debate over whether New Jersey needs additional power plants to address surging demand for electricity. ...Some members of the business community are concerned the state will rely too heavily on conser vation and alternative energy sources to address rising demand for power. "If we don't deal with the supply issues, then the prices are going to go up," said Hal Bozarth, executive director of the Chemistry Council of New Jersey.
A temporary wind power system has been installed at Stafford Park to test the site's potential for supplying a substantial amount of wind-turbine energy. The temporary tower structure is the linchpin of a yearlong study that both township officials and the site's developer, The Walters Group, hope yields data revealing that prevailing winds on the property can produce enough power to warrant the construction of a wind farm at the 370-acre, mixed-use development.
Township Committee officials unanimously approved an ordinance Wednesday that will allow the use of windmills to generate renewable power in environmentally safe ways in specific regions of the township. ...The minimum 10-acre lot size prevents the windmills from being built in residential neighborhoods, said Committeeman Paul Drake, who initiated the plan. However, the 10-acre minimum, which drew opposition by some residents during Wednesday's public hearing, is a "bulk standard" that the Planning Board can consider allowing a variance for smaller lots if it makes sense, he said. ...The revised ordinance now indicates a Wildlife Habitat Assessment report must be prepared by the applicant, specifically addressing wildlife habitat affected by the installation of a windmill.
Conectiv Energy is moving ahead with its plans to build a big natural gas-fired power plant in southeastern Pennsylvania. The 545-megawatt facility near Delta, Pa., will run on natural gas in the warmer months, and when homeowners need that gas to heat their homes in the winter, it will switch over to fuel oil. The plant will be able to provide enough electricity to power 545,000 homes. ...This is a time of building for Conectiv. It is also constructing a 100-megawatt power plant in Cumberland, N.J., and it is bidding for the right to build a natural gas-fired power plant to back up a proposed wind farm off the coast of Rehoboth Beach. Those plans are on hold after legislative leaders blocked the wind farm plan last week
A planned 200-foot- high wind power test tower at Stafford Township Business Park has won a blessing from the state Pinelands Commission, which granted permission for the temporary structure as township officials and their development partners of the Walters Group investigate the potential for wind turbine energy. ...The test tower will go up on township land, but Walters will pay for the equipment and testing, Shives said. If the developers decide it's worth installing wind generators, the township will benefit by getting a share of the electricity to power its public works center and other facilities at the park, he said. A wind farm still would need a full review from the Pinelands Commission, "including provisions for the protection of fish and wildlife," according to commission documents. The area is adjacent to a state wildlife management area, and the business park's ongoing redevelopment was enabled by the commission's controversial decision to allow the project to proceed on a site with threatened and endangered plant and animal species.
In November, municipal officials tabled the introduction of a windmill-related ordinance after a member of the Sourland Mountain Planning Council voiced concerns about the impact of the windmills on some endangered species and plants in the region. While Steve Bales, also a township resident, is a proponent of renewable energy, he asked Township Committee members to amend the language of the ordinance to reflect better ways to preserve the Sourland Mountain region. Council members did just that and introduced a new version of the ordinance Tuesday. The measure is up for public review and a possible vote Dec. 26. ..."I do have a concern over the setback," said Laura Burshnic, a township resident. "I think 180 feet is just a little too close. I wouldn't want to look out my window and see that. It would be an eyesore." The Township Committee then changed the ordinance to reflect a windmill having a 250-foot setback from property lines, easements or utility lines.
A large swath off the New Jersey coast will be studied beginning in January to assess wildlife density where offshore windmill farms may be built as an alternative energy source, the state Department of Environmental Protection said Friday. The 18-month survey will focus on the 70 or so miles of coast between Seaside Park in Ocean County and Stone Harbor in Cape May County and extend as far as 20 nautical miles, or 23 miles, offshore. ...Although the study stems from a recommendation from a May 2006 report from the state's blue ribbon panel on developing wind energy farms in New Jersey, Jeff Tittel, executive director of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club, said the research is unnecessary and just delays the construction.