Sierra Club pushes Christie to create wind farms

October 1, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

The Sierra Club launched an ad campaign Monday aimed at pressuring Gov. Christie into making building offshore wind farms a priority.

The ad blitz – including messages on billboards on major highways and in some of the state’s largest newspapers – came as a new poll showed broad support among New Jerseyans for public investment in renewable energy sources, including offshore wind farms.

“I join the majority of New Jerseyans calling on Gov. Christie to make our state a leader in clean, renewable offshore wind power,” Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said in a statement Monday.

The ads use the tagline: “The Jersey Shore is known for a lot of things. Let’s make wind power one of them.”

Seventy-five percent of New Jerseyans favor building offshore windmills, according to the poll, conducted by Monmouth University on behalf of the Sierra Club.

About 66 percent say the state should seek to develop more renewable sources of energy. Roughly the same number of people say that such development would boost the economy, and that Christie should make doing so a priority.

The Governor’s Office referred requests for comment to his campaign.

“The Sierra Club’s objectivity and credibility is tainted by the fact that its New Jersey director is actively campaigning for Sen. [Barbara] Buono for Governor,” Christie campaign spokesman Colin Reed said in an e-mail.

The state chapter of the Sierra Club endorsed Buono, a Middlesex County Democrat, in May.

In 2010, the Republican governor signed into law the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act, which called for a renewable energy certificate program that would ensure that offshore wind energy accounted for a certain percentage of electricity sold in the state.

The legislation also called for offshore wind projects to provide at least 1,100 megawatts of electricity.

Despite a strong industry push, no offshore turbines are up and running. Sierra Club spokeswoman Kim Teplitzky said progress had stalled because the state Board of Public Utilities had not set up financing rules for the program.

The BPU will act only under pressure from Christie, Teplitzky said. “Christie’s their boss,” she said. “It’s his agency. If the governor decides he’s ready for New Jersey to build offshore wind, he can get the BPU moving.”

The BPU did not respond to a request for comment.

It rejected a proposed wind farm off the coast of Atlantic City in July, saying the project’s costs outweighed environmental and economic benefits.



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