Coming to the Jersey Shore: Wind Turbines

February 3, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Associated Press
Turbines Beyond the Boardwalk: The coastline of New Jersey will be fast-tracked for wind-turbine development. Above, a wind farm off Denmark’s coast.

The Obama administration is working to fast-track wind farms off the coast of New Jersey, with plans to allow wind-energy developers into the area by the end of the year.

As WSJ’s Ryan Tracy reported Friday, the leases to develop offshore wind turbines in New Jersey would be the first under a program designed to speed the development process. A section of coastal Maryland is also included in the plan, and the Delaware and Virginia coasts could be next. The U.S. doesn’t yet have any turbines offshore.

The move to speed wind-farm development off New Jersey will still take years to pay off:

“There’s a whole lot more work ahead of us to get the project in the water,” said Jeffrey Grybowski, chief administrative officer for Deepwater Wind, which is backing a wind farm off New Jersey’s coast with Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. The goal is to bring the wind farm online by 2017, Mr. Grybowski said.

The fast-track plan also has its critics, and not just among Republican lawmakers in Congress who are more reluctant to back renewable-energy project. Some in New Jersey are also upset, as Tracy found:

The push to expedite offshore wind permits has drawn criticism for being too friendly to the wind-energy industry….[L]ocal groups in New Jersey have said conflicts with the fishing, tourism, and shipping industries haven’t been adequately examined. Clean Ocean Action, an advocacy group which doesn’t oppose offshore wind power, is seeking a more thorough review of the New Jersey lease proposal. “There has been no input from stakeholders in a comprehensive way,” said Cindy Zipf, the group’s executive director.

A spokeswoman for the Interior Department said the leasing review process has involved significant public comments and would continue to do so.

Read more in Tracy’s full report.

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