PAULSBORO – A New Jersey brownfield where once BP distributed oil may soon become one of the first places where turbines are assembled for wind farms off the Atlantic Ocean.
The site is poised to become the chief benefactor of a bill signed into law Thursday by Gov. Chris Christie that will help finance enough wind energy to power 1 million homes and provide up to $100 million in tax credits for wind energy facilities.
Christie signed the bill at the Paulsboro Marine Terminal, a brownfield site that has been vacant since the mid-1990s when BP used it.
The terminal, which sits across the Delaware River from Philadelphia International Airport, will become a port. The state is trying to use the tax credits to lure manufacturers to Paulsboro to build turbines that can easily be taken by cargo boats to the Atlantic Ocean for installation.
“We’re taking an abandoned, contaminated site which is an eyesore and turning it into the future of New Jersey’s clean, renewable energy,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the Sierra Club’s New Jersey chapter. “Wind is a win, win, win for New Jersey.”
To qualify for credits, offshore wind projects must be in the Atlantic Ocean and connected to the electric transmission system in New Jersey.
The bill marks another step the state is taking to create clean energy and capture green jobs to spur the economy.
“Developing New Jersey’s renewable energy resources and industry is critical to our state’s manufacturing and technology future,” the Republican governor said.
The goal of the legislation is to support enough energy to power 1 million homes from offshore wind projects in the next few years.
Christie said the state is talking with manufacturing companies interested in coming to Paulsboro.
Sponsors of the measure say wind projects would create significant development and environmental benefits.
“If we are serious about moving our state and our country off of our reliance on fossil fuels, then we must make serious investments in alternative and renewable energy sources, as this law does,” said Democratic Assemblyman John McKeon. “Our economic and environmental futures depend on smart planning and investment in the present.”
In June, New Jersey, nine other states and federal authorities formed a consortium that will promote the development of offshore wind energy.
Just months before, the Fishermen’s Energy group launched an environmental monitoring buoy from a dock in Atlantic City. It will sit nearly three miles offshore to gather data on wind conditions and environmental resources. The group eventually hopes to place 66 turbines offshore, capable of powering 50,000 homes.
A state study released in June found wind energy would have little negative impact on New Jersey’s environment.
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