There's an intriguing new development likely to intrude into the discussion today when Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar opens an all-day session in Atlantic City on the nation's offshore energy prospects (Interior Secretary to discuss NJ's offshore energy)
Reporter Sandy Bauers explains:
"Last fall, the BPU selected three wind developers - Bluewater Wind, Garden State offshore Energy (a joint venture of Deepwater Wind and PSEG), and Fishermen's Energy, a cooperative of commercial fishermen looking at new ways to harvest from the sea.
"About the same time, the governor upped the ante for the technology, setting a goal in his energy master plan of 1,000 megawatts of wind - about the amount the three proposals would generate - by 2012 and triple that by 2020. The only place to meet that, all agree, is offshore.
"The main obstacle at that point was that the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service (MMS), which has the authority to regulate offshore wind, did not have a system in place to issue permits. It was being worked on.
"So the developers waited.
"Meanwhile, Burton Hamner of Seattle, president of Grays Harbor Ocean Energy Co., zigged where others had zagged.
"He filed seven proposals for offshore wave farms with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which under different legislation was given authority over "hydrokinetic" projects. As in tides, currents - and waves.
"In New Jersey, what got everyone's attention and provoked the strong reaction was that the area Hamner picked engulfed the area proposed for two of the wind farms and was near to that proposed for the third.
"Odder still, most scientists have dismissed the viability of Jersey wave energy, which typically uses buoys and turbines to extract energy from the up and down motion of the waves."
A former environmental planner for the Washington Department of Ecology, Hamner produces the website, Cleaner Production, which provides information on developing green and sustainable business internationally. He serves as chair of the Renewable Energy Committee of the Marine Technology Society and was appointed in early 2008 as an international advisor to the New Zealand Marine Energy Deployment Fund.
It should be interesting.
US Interior Dept to release offshore energy data
Offshore Wind: Plenty of Potential, Even More Hurdles
Atlantic City ground zero on Monday for offshore energy, wind debate
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