CAPE MAY – The Coast Guard Training Center here will not be building two large wind turbines due to the difficulty in determining if the structures would kill endangered birds.
The change of plans by the Coast Guard is voluntary.
The project was not shut down by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) but the agency requested additional environmental testing to determine whether the wind turbines would negatively impact the bird population. An avian expert working with the Coast Guard on the project determined the study could be inconclusive, according to Chief Warrant Officer Donnie Brzuska.
“We decided to pursue other energy saving programs in other areas as part of the Coast Guard’s energy saving initiative,” he said.
The Department of Homeland Security set a goal of a 10 percent reduction in energy use at all its installations by using renewable energy by 2010.
Brzuska said extensive environmental testing had been undertaken regarding the effect of wind turbines on the migrating bird population. Those results showed minimal impact on the bird population, he said.
In lieu of windmills, the training center will use high efficiency natural gas boilers which has reduced emissions output into the air by more than 90 percent, said Brzuska. In addition, 2,000 light fixtures have been replaced with high efficiency, low wattage lighting and toilets have been replaced with low flow units which has cut wastewater production by 50 percent, he said.
The Training Center proposed constructing two, 2-megawatt wind turbines on 328-foot towers at two locations on the base to provide 66 percent to 70 percent of the base’s energy needs. The project would have required permits from the state Division of Fish and Wildlife, Federal Aviation Administration, Coastal Area Facilities Review Act (CAFRA) New Jersey Resources Conservation Program, state Department of Environmental Protection, state Historic Preservation Office and Cape May’s Historic Preservation Commission.
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