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By Samuel R. Avro on Feb 26, 2009 with no responses

Energy Summit Held on Jersey Shore Wind Project Which Can Power 100,000 Homes

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A proposed plan to create energy from offshore wind at the Jersey Shore has the potential to power more than 100,000 homes.

Residents and business leaders from across Monmouth and Ocean counties in New Jersey came together last week for an energy summit in order to discuss the various technologies under exploration in an attempt to wean the state off its traditional supplies of power by using alternative energies.

One of the main topics at the forum was the proposal for a wind farm off the coast of the Jersey Shore which would provide power to more than 100,000 homes in the state.

The proposed 348-megawatt offshore wind project would utilize 116 turbines, and with the wind park located more than 15 miles from shore, it will be only faintly visible from land.

Co-hosted by the Monmouth-Ocean Development Council (MODC) & Jersey Shore Partnership Foundation, the forum was titled “Powering the Coast: Energy and Job Creation Opportunities For New Jersey.”

“With both federal and state incentives becoming available to pursue green energy initiatives in New Jersey, particularly along the coastline, it is important for government and private sector leaders to fully understand the impact, financial as well as environmental, that these new energy resources will have on our coastline,” Benjamin L. Waldron, Executive Director of the MODC, told Consumer Energy Report. “There is also the potential for large numbers of job opportunities over the next decade to develop, construct and operate these facilities.”

Models of offshore wind projects in Europe were presented at the meeting, which included a plan in the U.K. to power the entire residential sector with offshore wind by 2020. Germany, which plans on 20,000 megawatts, and Denmark were also cited.

New Jersey has an abundance of offshore wind – over 20,000 megawatts.

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJ BPU) awarded the rights last year to Garden State Offshore Energy (GSOE), a joint venture of PSEG Renewable Generation and Deepwater Wind.

The company hopes to blunt opposition from environmentalists and residents who say that turbines diminish ocean views, by placing the turbines far enough from the shore so that the naked eye won’t be able to see it on a normal day.

An 18 month study, launched in January 2008, is currently being conducted in order to assess the impact that the wind farm would have on the area’s sea life, such as avian species, marine mammals, sea turtles, fish and shellfish.

With transmission constraints from the west, New Jersey needs power from the east, directly connected to the grid, and the hope is that the offshore wind turbines will provide just that.

New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine recently outlined an energy master plan which called for 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2012, and 3,000 by the year 2020 – 30 percent of the state’s electricity needs.

He also set a course to upgrade energy infrastructure and boost spending on clean energy technologies and businesses to stimulate the economy and create jobs.

“For every billion dollars we spend on infrastructure, we can put upwards of 20,000 people back to work,” the Governor said.

Chris Wissemann, President of GSOE, pointed out some staggering numbers that the offshore project can produce.

Offshore wind can provide up to 70% of the state’s electricity needs, and an estimated 96% of New Jersey’s renewable energy potential by 2020, he said. He also pointed out the economic impact it would have on the state.

The wind farm is not scheduled to be operational until 2013.

Among the other proposals discussed at the energy forum included plans for liquefied natural gas, solar power and tidal energy.