Friday, July 23, 2010

Will mysterious NJ entrant delay DE offshore wind?

Bluewater Wind has done much of the heavy lifting needed to put itself and the state of Delaware at the head of a pack of developers and states hoping to build the first wind energy farm off the Atlantic coast.

The company helped steer a funding law through the Delaware legislature, negotiated agreements with the state's largest utility and others to buy the power its ocean turbines will generate, and is nearing the final hurdle--winning a federal lease for the site it has chosen 11 miles off Delaware's coast.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a mysterious rival from New Jersey has appeared and is seeking to win a federal lease for its own wind farm at the very same location. 

What makes it a mystery is the fact that Occidental Development & Equities LLC, of Bayonne, N.J. has managed to shield virtually all details about itself other than its name.

Occidental was one of five developers that filed in 2008 to build a wind farm off New Jersey's coast, but it was rejected for funding by the state's Board of Public Utilities. In the New Jersey case, it also managed to keep its vital statistics out of public view.  

Based on that track record and Bluewater Wind's long head start, the mysterious stranger does not appear to pose much of a danger to Bluewater Wind as a competitor, but it could delay the federal review and approval process--especially at a time when the federal focus is on offshore gas drilling.

Everyone loves a mystery. Is Occidental a serious wind energy developer?  If not, what game is it playing? 

Use the opinion box below to share what you know--or suspect. If one isn't visible, click on the tiny 'comment' line below to activate it.


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