Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Northern New Jersey Moving Ahead With Wind Power Projects

Bayonne New Jersey and the Port Authority are moving ahead with the installation of wind power generators around New York harbor.
The Port Authority’s proposed project at Port Jersey on the border of Bayonne and Jersey City would be similar, in appearance and purpose, to a wind farm that was built at a sewage-treatment plant in Atlantic City five years ago. The authority is seeking suggestions from companies that might be interested in managing the project on how to set up the turbines. Mr. Baroni said it could be operating by 2013.

When the winds are high, the five turbines would produce as much as 7.5 megawatts — enough to run at least 2,000 homes, he said. The authority plans to use the power generated to operate the container port there, then to feed the surplus energy into the local power grid, offsetting some of the authority’s consumption elsewhere.

“This is a commitment the Port Authority is making to reduce our carbon footprint and be better neighbors,” Mr. Baroni said. “It will allow us to both save money and also be good for the environment. Somebody’s got to go first, and it’s going to be us.”

But the City of Bayonne may tap the wind quicker. Construction of a 262-foot-tall turbine has already begun at a plant operated by the city’s Municipal Utilities Authority. That $5.6 million tower, which would be the biggest wind turbine in New Jersey outside of Atlantic City, is expected to start producing more than enough energy to power the plant by September. The city plans to sell the excess power, saving at least $150,000 a year, said Stephen J. Gallo, executive director of the utilities authority.

“It will be iconic,” Mr. Gallo said. “It will be the first windmill in New York Harbor. You’ll be able to see it from anywhere on the water.”

Both projects in Bayonne would help New Jersey achieve its stated goal of developing 200 megawatts of wind energy onshore by 2020. The state’s energy master plan also calls for producing 3,000 megawatts of wind energy offshore within 10 years.
None of these projects are in the multi-megawatt range, but they are going to be sufficient to power sewage pumping stations, Port Authority properties, and small operations around New York harbor.

They're also moving ahead faster than New York City is, despite Mayor Bloomberg's intention to build wind power turbines where land was available.

The fact that the wind turbines will be situated along New Jersey's waterfront means that they will be a very visible reminder of the technology and may lead other localities to consider their implementation.

Of course, there are still people opposed to such projects because of claims of noise and zoning restrictions (see Wayne, New Jersey for such shortsightedness).

Also, the construction of the wind power turbines on those properties circumvents problems with running new transmission lines and avoids the costs of building those facilities offshore in deeper water. That also means that those projects will break even much sooner - making the economic case for their implementation.

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