A Japanese firm and a Bayonne company are two additional groups that state utility regulators would look toward when they select a proposal for building a giant wind farm off Atlantic and Cape May counties.
The groups’ proposals are among five that the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities received early last week.
At that time, the BPU had not confirmed any of the submissions, and only three of them – one by power supplier Public Service Enterprise Group, another by a Cape May County fishing consortium and a third by a Hoboken firm – were publicly known.
Meanwhile, a committee to evaluate all five bids could be identified at the BPU’s meeting Wednesday.
The committee must make recommendations to the BPU, which in October approved a grant of up to $19 million for the construction of power-generating wind turbines, which are touted as clean sources of energy. The BPU has said the final project could yield enough electricity for about 125,000 homes.
BPU spokesman Doyal Siddell said any decision to proceed on the project will occur “after a full and rigorous review.”
But this high-level project might not happen at all.
The BPU can choose not to award the grant. Meanwhile, wind farms are expensive – this particular project is estimated at $1 billion – and that could force companies to back down.
But if built it could become the nation’s first offshore wind farm if similar projects, including one off Cape Cod, Mass., remain stalled.
For New Jersey’s project, Environmental Technologies LLC, the Japanese firm with offices in New York, wants to install specially designed “vertical type wind turbines.”
They don’t resemble the turbines in Atlantic City with the blades that spin at the top of a tower just over 250 feet. Instead, the blades whip around in several layers, looking like window blinds.
“They can get enough wind because the turbines are so short and light,” said Sam Ikeda, of Environmental Technologies.
The blades are made of aluminum and the entire turbine is just over 100-feet tall. Instead of placing them offshore, Ikeda envisions building them on a long pier or even on land.
He could not immediately say how many turbines the firm would build, but that they could be placed in a discreet area for aesthetic reasons.
One such turbine is to be built this spring as a teaching tool on the campus of Sullivan County Community College in New York.
Information on the proposal by Occidental Development & Equities, LLC, based in Bayonne, was unavailable Friday. A contact for the company could not be reached by telephone.
These are the other wind farm proposals:
n PSEG Renewable Generation, working jointly with Winergy Power Holdings, would build 96 turbines about 16 miles off the New Jersey shore.
n Bluewater Wind, of Hoboken, would construct 116 windmills about 15.5 miles southeast of Atlantic City.
n Fishermen’s Energy of New Jersey seeks to build 74 windmills, the first about 3 miles off Atlantic City.
Environmental groups would likely get involved, as the impact of a wind farm on wildlife and the environment would come into question.
By Erik Ortiz
15 March 2008
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