Articles from New Jersey
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.
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.
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.
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.
Companies attempt to stand out from the competition based on three factors -- quality, speed and price, Stanton said. "We give you a fourth one." ...The company was one of the first businesses in New Jersey to commit to purchasing energy from the new wind farm in Atlantic City.
The state Board of Public Utilities is ready to commit up to $1.9 million now and $19 million over time to entice private companies to study and prepare grant applications for a wind turbine project off the Jersey coast. ...But the environmental impact and economic questions about offshore wind farms have not been answered. The impact on fishing, wildlife and shipping is important to the state. So is the cost of locating, maintaining and operating such a project. Until it has those answers, the state is "putting the cart before the horse," as Tim Dillingham of the American Littoral Society said after learning of the BPU's solicitation.
About 70 windmills will sprout in the ocean off the Jersey Shore, producing enough energy to power some 125,000 homes. The Board of Public Utilities on Wednesday gave its OK to a pilot project to erect the windmills between three to 20 miles off the state's shores.
New Jersey is offering up to $19 million to help support a potential wind turbine project off the coast, and at least one company is interested. ..."This was very exciting news to Bluewater Wind," which expects to submit a proposal, said James S. Lanard, head of strategic planning and communications for the Hoboken-based company.
If you're expecting the mainstream media to tell you the truth about wind power, I will be happy to come by and read some fairy tales to you. Wind farms are one of those trendy, environmental fairy tales about "alternative" energy sources that will save us all from burning coal to provide electricity because, according the Great Big Book of Environmentally Bad Things, it's "a fossil fuel" and it "pollutes."
In the absence of a state energy master plan defining how much real energy Corzine believes will come from offshore wind, a hard look at it in relation to overall energy demand and the ability to replace fossil fuel sources or address global climate change is needed. Offshore wind farms are not the answer to our energy problems. Industrial wind farms are expensive and inefficient: They cost hundreds of millions of dollars (much of it public money) and need thousands of turbines to produce relatively small amounts of electricity in relation to New Jersey's overall demand. Even then, they will have only a minimal impact on emissions that contribute to global cli mate change, and won't affect sea level rise at the Jersey Shore. A realistic look at the environmental benefits of expensive offshore wind facilities leads one to conclude that we should invest scarce public resources in more effective means of reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions -- which is absolutely necessary in the face of global warming and its effects on New Jersey.
Wake up, New Jersey, before more of your tax dollars are wasted on Gov. Corzine's offshore wind farm. ...In these hard financial times, our state and federal governments need to invest taxpayer dollars more wisely than they have. Alternative energy sources are needed, but they must make financial sense. Windmills on land are borderline cost-effective, and that's only because of energy subsidies. Windmills in the north Atlantic never will come close to recovering their cost. If something doesn't make financial sense, we should be looking at who will benefit from its construction. New Jersey citizens will not benefit from this ocean wind farm. Electric costs will rise because of it. Someone needs to follow the money to see who will benefit.