A firm that wants to build power-generating windmills off the coast of Atlantic City says its appeal to the state Supreme Court has been rejected.
Fishermen’s Energy said it learned on Wednesday that its appeal of numerous rejections by state regulators won’t be heard.
Chief operating officer and general counsel Paul Gallagher said the company is revising its plans for a demonstration facility to use turbines from German manufacturer Siemens instead of from a Chinese firm whose operations caused concern among state utility regulators. The firm’s CEO, Chris Wissemann, said it will respond to concerns raised by the state Board of Public Utilities that led to past rejections.
“With the legal challenges behind us, we can now announce progress we have made to reconfigure the project to address the issues that the BPU raised in denying approval last year – namely cost, using proven turbines and traditional sources of project financing,” Wissemann said.
The company, a developer of offshore wind energy facilities in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, would not reveal its new funding sources. But Gallagher said it will be cutting ties with Xiangtan Electric Manufacturing Group, its Chinese partner in the originally planned venture.
New Jersey energy regulators have rejected the plan three times, saying among other things Xiangtan, which would have owned 70 percent of the project, did not demonstrate financial integrity.
Gallagher said he hoped his company could now “engage in open discussions with the BPU on how a new application can be optimized to pass the BPU’s criteria for approval” and “reduce the cost to a level that meets BPU’s objectives.”
The firm wants to put five windmills about 3 miles off the coast of Atlantic City.
The U.S. Department of Energy promised up to $47 million for the project in May 2014. But the state utilities board ruled in November that the project can’t advance without guarantees of at least $100 million in federal subsidies.
In April 2014, the utilities board said that the firm submitted key financial information in Mandarin Chinese, without a translation that would enable it to be accurately evaluated by regulators. The board said that Xiangtan did not use American accounting standards in asserting its financial strength and has not shown it can get the necessary federal subsidies.
The project’s five turbines would generate about 25 megawatts of electricity but depend on a mixture of subsidies and federal grants to make sure ratepayers don’t get stuck with sky-high bills. In Atlantic City, the local utilities authority has a wind farm consisting of five windmills that generate 7.5 megawatts, enough energy to power approximately 2,500 homes.
Fishermen’s Energy, which launched a test buoy into the Atlantic Ocean in 2010 to gather data on wind conditions and environmental resources, said at the time it hoped to eventually place 66 turbines offshore, capable of powering 50,000 homes.
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