Library from New Jersey
The state Board of Public Utilities is expected next Wednesday to vote on a proposal by Fishermen’s Energy, LLC to build a 25-megawatt wind farm about three miles off Atlantic City. Several sources told NJ Spotlight that the staff is currently recommending the commissioners kill the project, which has been pending before the agency for three years.
A state law prohibiting Union Beach from blocking the construction of a large wind turbine may have been illegal “special legislation” written with input by a lobbyist, according to an attorney for the borough. Stuart Lieberman, special counsel for Union Beach, appeared Feb. 12 in the Appellate Division of state Superior Court in Mount Holly, seeking to overturn an earlier trial court ruling in favor of the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority (BRSA), which is seeking to build a 380-foot turbine in the borough.
Beyond urging the federal government to delay its lease auction, the letter urges the administration and Legislature to force the BPU adopt the necessary regulations to move the process forward and select the developers who will receive ORECs. Unless that happens and federal lease process moves forward, the letter warns that New Jersey will have no say as to which developers receive leases for offshore wind farms off its coast.
The hotly debated proposal, introduced six years ago and now under final review by the state Board of Public Utilities, may face a new obstacle. BPU president Robert Hanna, who is presiding officer on that case, was this month nominated as a Superior Court judge and could be confirmed before any decision is made on the pilot-project wind farm.
The New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel, which represents utility customers, initially opposed the project ...But the counsel agreed to support Fishermen's Energy's application in July after the company reduced its certificate price from $310 to $187, which reduces the hundreds of millions of dollars extra that electric customers would have to pay for power to fund the project.
This was a great year for golden eagles, with a record 50 of them seen at NJ Audubon’s Cape May Hawkwatch, mostly last month. Or at least it was a great year until Dec. 6, when the U.S. government announced it would allow wind farms and other projects to kill federally protected eagles for the next 30 years.
The Legislature is trying to jumpstart offshore wind farms, a move spurred by frustration with the Christie administration’s failure to adopt regulations to make it happen in New Jersey. A bill (A-4538) introduced last Thursday by the deputy speaker of the Assembly John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester) proposes to have offshore wind projects financed by the state’s four electric utilities, which would recover the money from consumers -- and then some.
Economics, however, seemed to be the biggest factor in the state agency’s opposition. Fishermen’s Energy project relies on lucrative federal tax credits to make the project viable from a business and ratepayer perspective, but those incentives expire at the end of this year, unless renewed by Congress, and that appears to be a long-shot prospect, at best. “Most importantly, FACW has failed to credibly demonstrate that it will actually receive, at this late date, all of the federal subsidies,’’ the staff said in its brief.
Atlantic Grid Development LLC, the company planning an undersea power-transmission line backed by Google Inc. (GOOG), is shifting its goal to moving electricity across New Jersey instead of connecting offshore wind farms.
A subsidiary of gas utility owner New Jersey Resources will spend $22 million to acquire and build a wind farm in Montana, its first onshore wind project, the company said Wednesday.
Gerald Lechliter, a retired Army colonel, sought the restraining order in a broader Chancery Court lawsuit. He filed the suit last year challenging construction of the wind turbine on land that had been set aside for open space and the process in which it was approved and funded.
Ratepayers already have coughed up $388 million in rebates and other financial incentives for the clean energy program to promote solar panels, wind projects, and other renewable energy initiatives during the first years of the program, ...but that amount does not include what customers have shelled out since the state largely switched to a more market-based program.
The clock is quietly winding down on Fishermen’s Energy offshore wind project, a proposal its backers say could propel New Jersey into becoming a hub for offshore wind farms, and potentially create hundreds, if not thousands of new manufacturing jobs in the state. The 25-megawatt pilot, located 2.8 miles off Atlantic City, is the first to come under review by state regulators, but its prospects of moving forward are looking bleaker by the week, if not by the day.
Loved by the green movement, solar panels pose a growing threat to firefighters, who may suffer electrical shocks from panels that typically cannot be turned off, said John Drengenberg, consumer safety director for Underwriters Laboratories. Even when systems are equipped with shutoffs, any light can keep panels and their wires energized.
For the second time in two months, the federal government is auctioning leases to build offshore wind farms along the Eastern Seaboard -- once again without including New Jersey. The latest auction involved 112,800 acres approximately 25 miles off the Virginia coast.
According to the BPU filing, the developer's initial June 2011 project application materially changed after Fisherman's notified the agency it was switching turbine suppliers several times. Originally, the BPU says the developer was considering three possible turbine manufacturers: Siemens, GE and China-based XEMC New Energy.
The Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority (BRSA) will likely make a decision on whether to proceed with its highly contested wind turbine project by the end of the summer, according to BRSA Executive Director Robert Fischer.
BPU commissioners expressed questions about the financial integrity of the project. They particularly opposed a provision in the settlement to saddle ratepayers with another $19.2 million in costs, above and beyond what they will pay for the electricity produced by the wind farm, if the projected federal incentives fall short of expectations.
Part of the idea was to link wind farms planned from Boston to Virginia so each could offset dips in power generation by the others and make the power supply more reliable. ...At the time, NRG Energy still planned a wind farm off of Delaware and interest in a similar outpost off of Ocean City, Md., was growing. Since then, however, NRG Energy has shelved its Delaware plan and progress in Maryland has dcragged on slowly.
Google plans to corner the wind energy market in New Jersey. It's a first-of-its kind venture that could cost Google and its partners $1.3 billion, but one Google believes fits its core mission: You can make money without doing evil.