Articles filed under General from New Jersey
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.
Here in New Jersey, the administration is conducting a series of studies on the feasibility and the environmental and economic impacts "to push for ward with an offshore wind project," according to a spokesman for Gov. Jon Corzine. The governor's energy policy calls for 20 percent of the state's electricity to be wind- or solar- generated by 2020, and 80 percent by 2050. ...But we encourage Gov. Corzine to take a cautious approach and make sure that the environmental and economic questions are answered before we allow the giant windmills to sprout up along our coast.
Environmentalists are divided over whether "wind farms" are an Earth-friendly source of power. Timothy P. Dillingham, director of the New Jersey chapter of the American Littoral Society, is a member of the blue-ribbon panel that studied the issue. He and his organization oppose the idea..."We are talking about building an industrial facility out in the ocean," he said. "There is no framework, no set of regulations to ensure public protection. People think there is money to be made. People think there is some answer to global warming here. Caution is being thrown to the wind, so to speak."
Legislators in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic passed a number of bills applying to the electric power industry, with several states committing to emissions reductions through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and other states making broad organizational changes to their regulatory processes.
WASHINGTON - The House rejected a resolution Wednesday that would block government plans to spur construction of major new power lines in many states regardless of local opposition. The issue has been contentious in parts of the East Coast and in the Southwest, where two high priority transmission corridors for power lines were proposed. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., warned colleagues that unwanted power lines could come to their district.
Bluewater Wind would like to put wind turbines at least 6 nautical miles, or nearly 7 regular miles, offshore for two reasons, a company official says. "All our ornithologists and . . . all the avian experts tell us" that nearly all migratory bird flyways are much closer to land, and the issue of whether wind turbines can be seen is "almost a nonissue because it's so far out," said Jim Lanard, director of strategic planning and communications. But David Mizrahi, an avian ecologist and vice president of research for the New Jersey Audubon Society, said, "I'd be a lot more cautious about (the bird issue) than he is."
Hoboken-based Bluewater Wind, which wants to build a wind turbine park off Delaware's Atlantic coast, is interested in building a pilot project off New Jersey, according to a company official. Meanwhile, New Jersey is seeking proposals for offshore ecological studies - from Seaside Park to Stone Harbor - that would be completed by Sept. 30, 2009, at a cost of up to $4.5 million.
An innovative designer is working on plans to add some kind of crazy wind turbine energy generator into the barriers between highways. The breeze from the passing cars would then generate a bunch of electricity, actually turning the congested, miserable stretch of road into something that, if not environmentally friendly, is at least a bit less of a kick in the pants to mother nature.
A federal proposal to make New Jersey part of a special corridor for new electric power lines is cause for alarm, a state environmental group contends. "This designation would give utilities the right to use eminent domain to acquire private property to build their lines," said Jeff Tittel, head of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club. It would also encourage the production and transmission of electricity from coal-fired plants at a time when the state is trying to promote clean and renewable energy, Tittle warned.
According to Friday's Nuclear Market Review (NMR), many market participants were left stunned by the recent record jump in the weekly spot uranium price. The market has increasingly diverged between those who have U3O8 and those without. Utilities with existing supply contracts "are heaving a sigh of relief," NMR editor Treva Klingbiel wrote. And those trying to find uranium in today's climate "are forced to face the reality of a seller's market," she said.
Offshore wind facilities are expected to have negligible to minor environmental impacts in general - "if the proper siting and mitigation measures are followed," a draft study says. But some activists faulted the draft environmental impact statement by the federal Minerals Management Service. The document covers technologies for tapping offshore wind, wave and current energy. The agency jumped to conclusions about the risks without having adequate information, said Eric Stiles, vice president for conservation and stewardship in the New Jersey Audubon Society. "It's grossly premature to conclude," for example, that impacts on birds will be only moderate, Stiles said.
New Jersey's plan to spend $4.5 million to study birds and marine life offshore prior to a pilot project with up to 80 wind turbines has drawn mixed views from activists. "Our ocean deserves a robust, thorough, and scientifically valid study - not this bargain basement, blue-light special," according to a statement from Cynthia A. Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action, a Sandy Hook-based coalition. Birds should be studied for three years before construction of offshore wind farms, according to a 2006 letter from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official. The proposed New Jersey ecological study would last for 18 months. While an 18-month study is "not an end-point," it's "a major milestone for moving forward in making informed and appropriate decisions regarding siting of wind turbines," said Eric Stiles, vice president for conservation and stewardship in the New Jersey Audubon Society.
Steve Gallo, executive director of the Bayonne Municipal Utilities Authority, said he is looking for innovative ways to save money for the city, and reduce the cost of his authority's energy needs. One of these ways, he said, is the possibility of installing modern windmills on BMUA controlled land to harness wind gusts off New York Bay to generate power for the Oak Street pump station. "We are trying to use new technology to find ways of saving our energy costs," Gallo said. "This is evident with the recent installation of solar panels in our schools that makes Bayonne the largest non-power company to supply energy on the east coast." Two years ago, the municipal authority in South Plainfield installed a wind-generated turbine to run a station, and with Bayonne surrounded on three sides, Gallo figures he might be able to do the same things. Windmills have also been successfully installed at Atlantic County Utility Authority, and combined with solar panels it generates enough energy to run the plant.
Edison Mission Group and a private Pennsylvania-based wind farm developer said they have agreed to develop up to 1,000 megawatts of mostly onshore wind energy throughout the U.S. mid-Atlantic. Edison Mission, which manages the power business of Edison International, made the agreement with US Wind Force LLC to develop wind farms over the next several years that would feed PJM power grid that includes Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, West Virginia and parts of North Carolina.
New Jersey has yet to dedicate any money for environmental studies in advance of a test project with up to 80 wind turbines off the coast, according to a state official. Performing studies “upfront is absolutely critical to ensuring that . . . any project that’s considered is safe for the coast,” said Tim Dillingham, executive director of the American Littoral Society, a coastal conservation group based on Sandy Hook. “You can’t do one without the other,” said Dillingham, a member of a state blue-ribbon panel that recommended numerous studies last year.
American Transport Systems, of Vineland, told the Cumberland County Economic Development Board Dec. 12 that it has been exploring putting up to 150 wind energy turbines along the Delaware Bay.
Twenty percent of the electricity consumed in New Jersey by 2020 must come from renewable sources, such as wind and sun, up from 1 percent today, according to new regulations adopted unanimously Wednesday by the state’s Board of Public Utilities. “Increased use of renewable resources, specifically solar, will provide greater fuel diversity for New Jersey, while simultaneously reducing price volatility, strengthening the economy, improving public health and reducing greenhouse gases,” said Jeanne M. Fox, utilities board president. New Jersey Public Interest Research Group and the Sierra Club applauded the decision, but the state’s leading business and industry group warned that the rules will end up costing ratepayers more.
Yet, despite the operation of New Jersey’s small wind project since January, there is uncertainty about whether wind farms, particularly gigantic turbines positioned off the region’s coastline, will be embraced here. On Long Island, a 40-turbine project being considered off the South Shore is facing stiff resistance from opponents who argue that the turbines will damage pristine ocean views, fail to deliver cost-effective electricity and create environmental problems. In New Jersey, powerful local politicians have lined up behind wind power, where up to 80 turbines — rising 380 feet or more above the water along the South Jersey coastline — have been proposed to take advantage of the near-constant breezes.