What there is to know
- New Jersey has already approved a 1,200 megawatt offshore wind farm called Ocean Wind. It will include at least 92 miles of wind turbines off Cape May and Atlantic City.
- The state will approve up to 2,400 additional megawatts – at least 200 power turbines – on June 30 in two areas off southern Jersey.
- The 3,500 megawatts would provide enough power for about 1 in 4 homes and businesses in New Jersey. Construction of the wind farms is not expected to start until mid-end 2023.
Lawmakers in cities along the Jersey Shore are opposing a bill intended to speed up offshore wind energy projects by removing local control over transmission lines and other onshore infrastructure.
A bill passed quickly and quietly by the state legislature would give wind power projects approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities the authority to locate, construct, operate and maintain cables and associated land infrastructure as well. that they operate underground on street properties. The BPU may determine that some overhead cables are required.
It appears to be an effort to avoid local objections to at least one proposed wind power project to land at two old power plants and run cables under two of the state’s most popular beaches.
But the measure faced opposition from lawmakers representing coastal communities on Wednesday, even as it gained support from business groups.
“This bill robs coastal communities of the ability to protect themselves,” said Tom Rotondi, city councilor for Ocean City, where an offshore wind project planned by Danish developer Ørsted would run onshore power lines to connect. to the electricity grid. “A foreign company comes in and tells coastal communities what they can and cannot do with their property rights.
Offshore wind farms: leased areas and developers
Seventeen federally leased areas lie off the coasts of eight US states. Click on each rental site to see how many wind turbines are expected or estimated, which developer they belong to and how much energy will be generated. Turbine totals are either based on developers’ proposals or estimated using the power generated by the largest turbine currently on the market.
Congressman John Burzichelli, a Democrat from southern New Jersey who sponsored the bill, said it would be amended to reflect local concerns, but did not say what changes could be made to it.
“I can assure you that having been at the zero point of these discussions, we will not allow anything that can disrupt Ocean City and the real gem that it is,” Burzichelli said during a National Assembly hearing during from which the bill was advanced. “But the bottom line is that the transmission lines have to come. But they won’t run in the middle of your street.
A planned project by Ørsted and Public Service Enterprise Group, a New Jersey utility company, would connect to the power grid of decommissioned power plants in Ocean and Cape May counties.
Cables from the wind farm, located 15-27 miles offshore from Atlantic City, would terminate at one of three potential Ocean City locations and pass under a causeway leading to a former Upper Township power plant.
The cables are also expected to run through Island Beach State Park in Ocean County, passing under dunes and existing beach and parking lots, in Barnegat Bay. They landed either directly at the old nuclear power plant at Oyster Creek in the Forked River section of Lacey, or at Waretown, also known as Ocean Township in Ocean County.
Orsted said on Tuesday that the bill’s mitigation process is “critical to meeting deadlines and schedules not only for the developer, but for the supply chain and workforce dedicated to the project.”
As originally drafted, the bill authorizes a qualified wind power project to obtain easements, rights of way or other property rights from any level of government necessary for the construction of the project. . The BPU would make a final decision if these approvals were denied by governments.
No state, county or local government would be able to prohibit or charge a fee for using a street or other public property other than a road opening permit. If these governments deny the permit for any reason other than legitimate public safety concerns, the state’s utilities board would be required to issue an order granting the necessary approval.
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