First East Coast Offshore Wind Farm

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Garden State Offshore Energy has won a $4 million grant from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to develop what will be the first offshore wind farm on the East Coast. It will be located southeast of Atlantic City, at least 16 miles off the coast.

Garden State, a joint venture of PSEG Renewable Generation and Deepwater Wind, plans to build a 345 megawatt offshore wind facility that is expected to generate more than one percent of the state’s electricity needs.

The wind farm would be able to power some 125,000 homes annually. It could begin generating energy in 2012 with the entire project operational in 2013.

“With this Board vote, New Jersey maintains its well-established role as a leader in the development of renewable energy,” said Jeanne Fox, president of the Board of Public Utilities.

“Offshore wind projects such as this one selected today will help New Jersey protect its environment, combat global warming and respond to rising energy costs,” she said.

Garden State’s proposal calls for 96 wind turbines arranged in a rectangular grid 16 to 20 miles off the coast of Cape May and Atlantic counties.

GSOE will employ a proprietary deep water foundation technology which enables wind turbines to be located in deep waters far from shore.

At this distance, the wind farm would be barely visible from shore, addressing one of the major concerns of beach communities.

GSOE will receive 10 percent of the grant up front to offset a portion of the costs of the studies. The remainder will be received upon commercial operations.

Construction would begin in 2010 at the earliest after permitting and the baseline ecological study, currently being conducted by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, are completed. That study is expected to be done some time next year.

“PSEG believes that to meet the challenges of climate change, we need to move forward in three areas – expanding energy efficiency and conservation, investing in renewables and planning for additional clean central station power,” said Ralph Izzo, chairman, CEO and president of PSEG Renewable Generation. “We believe that offshore energy has great potential to bring clean energy and jobs to New Jersey.”

An evaluation committee of state and federal officials reviewed the proposals over several months before selecting GSOE. The company was chosen from among five applicants who responded to a solicitation issued by the Board of Public Utilities in October 2007.

A report prepared for the Board of Public Utilities in September by Global Insight examined the potential costs and benefits of a wind facility located off the shore of New Jersey and concluded that an offshore wind facility would supply one percent of the state’s power and could improve the state’s image.

Encouraged by the new project and the study, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine announced his plan to triple the state’s goal for offshore wind power, aiming for 3,000 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2020.

“Our draft Energy Master Plan identified a goal of 1,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2020,” said Governor Corzine on October 6. “We listened closely to our stakeholders, considered current economic conditions and the dynamic state of offshore wind technology, and we knew we had to go a lot further.

“Today, I am announcing that we’re not just doubling our commitment, we’re tripling it. New Jersey will support and encourage the development of 3,000 megawatts of wind power off its coast by 2020, which will be 13 percent of its total electricity. And we will get to 1,000 megawatts by 2012.”

With $15 million remaining in the funding that the Board of Public Utilities had allocated for offshore wind, Governor Corzine invited the other four bidders for this contract to work with New Jersey to develop their projects too. He called on the Board of Public Utilities and the Department of Environmental Protection to work with the Governor’s Office to find ways for these companies and others to be a part of New Jersey’s offshore wind development.

The governor encouraged these discussions to go beyond the $15 million allocation of funding from the state. He asked developers interested in fostering offshore wind in New Jersey to bring all ideas to the table to aid the state in creating an environment that will help this industry flourish, and bring green jobs to New Jersey.

“While I want to move forward quickly to harness offshore wind in New Jersey, I am committed to doing so in a responsible manner,” Governor Corzine pledged. “DEP will be charged with ensuring there are no unacceptable adverse impacts on the environment as a result of offshore wind.”

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