Friday, July 20, 2012

NJ Offshore Wind Power Project Clears Permit Hurdles

An offshore wind project near Atlantic City has taken another step towards being the nation's first offshore wind power venture after it cleared federal regulatory hurdles.
Offshore wind developer Fishermen's Energy now has permission to build six offshore wind turbines a few miles off the coast of Atlantic City, the company said, announcing it won its final federal permit.

Fishermen’s Energy, a coalition of fishermen seeking to supply alternative energy, said the project got a Clean Water Act permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

That follows several important permits the project got last year from the state Department of Environmental Protection after a public comment process.

The demonstration-scale wind farm would be built just 2.8 miles from the Atlantic City boardwalk, far closer to the shore than other proposals. Its turbines could produce up to 25 megawatts, capable of powering about 10,000 homes.

It's not the only company hoping to build: last year federal officials announced plans to fast-track offshore wind, and eleven companies filed to stake a claim and construct clusters of huge turbines in federal waters 12 miles off the coast of New Jersey.

Those much larger proposals include a farm off the coast of Avalon proposed by Garden State Offshore Energy and a project by Bluewater Wind off the coast of Cape May.
This particular project is much closer to the shore than the other larger projects, which makes it cheaper to build but increases the potential complaints from those who don't want to see them so close to shore (NIMBY types who complain it would mar their views of the ocean or adversely affect their businesses near or at the shore).

It awaits obtaining sufficient funding before construction would begin.

Here's hoping that they can show these offshore projects can be done in a fiscally prudent manner since this is a huge untapped source of energy and potential profits for the state, businesses and utilities.

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