Saturday, June 20, 2009

NJ's offshore wind energy pick is lobbying large

The firm selected by New Jersey to develop a wind farm off its coast is spending $10,000 a month to straighten out a political impasse that's keeping it from moving ahead on a similar project in Rhode Island.

Deepwater Wind was selected in September, 2008 to build a small wind farm off Rhode Island's Block Island and a second, roughly 100-turbine project around 15 miles off the coastline.

However, according to the Associated Press, the question of who would purchase the power remains in dispute.

Rhode Island's Republican Governor Don Carcieri, who has set goal of meeting 20 percent of the state’s electricity needs through renewable resources by 2011, initially wanted to create a state-run collective to serve as the buyer. Democrats in the legislature wanted the state’s main power distributor, National Grid, to be the buyer.

Meanwhile, environmental advocates feared the state was focusing too much on an unproven offshore wind farm at the expense of other, smaller projects.

Sound to you like fertile ground for lobbyists? Rhode Island lobbing disclosure reports apparently bear that out. The AP reports that:
"At least $400,000 has been spent so far this year by corporations with a stake as lawmakers hash out agreements worth big money to power developers, energy suppliers and labor unions hurting for jobs."

In New Jersey, Deepwater Wind has joined with PSEG in a joint venture--Garden State Offshore Energy--that was selected by the state Board of Public Utilities to build 96 wind turbines 16 to 20 miles off the coast of Cape May and Atlantic counties.

The project awaits the conclusion of environmental studies and also requires federal approval.

Related Posts:
BPU picks offshore wind farm builder
Required studies may delay offshore wind farms' debut ...

NJ offshore wind energy's new gust of intrigue
Wind turbines could more than meet U.S. electricity needs
US Interior Dept to release offshore energy data
Offshore Wind: Plenty of Potential, Even More Hurdles

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