MOUNT OLIVE TWP. – A modern day Don Quixote says the township could save millions of dollars by converting the generous wind of Budd Lake into energy.
“If a town has 50 acres to spare they could make $30 million per year,” said Peter L. Richards, founder and president of Avionex/USA, and a retired captain with the Merchant Marines.
Such a savings would cover the $27.1 million cost of municipal operations with a bit left over to help the school district.
Richards had contacted Township Councilman Bob Greenbaum, who invited him to the March 15 council meeting to present his plan.
“I’m not saying this will definitely work but I think we should explore all possibilities,” said Greenbaum.
Councilman Ray Perkins was pessimistic that wind is the answer.
He said that it often feels windy in Mount Olive’s open areas where the altitude is approximately 1,000 feet above sea level, but that the amount of wind is not sustainable turbines to be monetarily feasible.
“If it were, you would see these things popping up all over the place not just at the seashore,” said Perkins.
Richards, however, had an easy response.
“If there isn’t enough sustainable wind you just extend the blades three or four more meters,” said Richards.
Richards is making the rounds of New Jersey municipalities and school districts urging them to consider installing wind turbines in clusters of not less than five. He said each wind turbine would be 240 feet tall, require one acre of land and could generate approximately $365,000 in annual revenues.
Under the company’s lease-purchase program the township would not have to invest any money. “We focus on providing self-amortizing lease-purchases of our AvionEX Wind Turbine Clusters,” said Richards.
He said the lease-purchase payments are deducted monthly from the town’s or school district’s energy sales to the National Electrical Grid, which then forwards the right amount automatically under federal regulations to the tax exempt institution’s leasing company, investors or lender.
The major portion of the energy sales income is then remitted by the National Grid directly to each town or school district each month.
At the end of the lease, the town can take ownership for $1, Richards said.
Greenbaum said most of the township-owned open space was purchased using money from the state’s Green Acres Program, which in the past has strictly controlled passive and active use. But Richards said the state has relaxed restrictions.
“A law was passed in New Jersey a few months ago that allows wind turbines to be built on land purchased with Green Acres money,” said Richards.
Council members agreed to hear a fuller report at an undetermined date.
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