Saturday, July 20, 2013

Another setback for offshore wind's Fishermen's Energy

** Updated twice on July 22 to add related news stories**

Like a buoy that the company hopes will one day mark the sea channel to the wind farm it wants to build off the New Jersey coast, Fishermen's Energy was swamped by a cold new wave of government rejection on Friday but quickly bounced back to the surface.

The Star-Ledger reports that the state Board of Public Utilities rejected a settlement that would have advanced the company's latest plan to build a 25 megawatt offshore wind farm, saying New Jersey taxpayers would be on the hook for too much money should the anticipated federal grants fall through.

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The five turbine demonstration wind farm to be built in state waters three miles off the coast of Atlantic City, was first proposed in 2011 and would be the first along the East Coast. It would power 10,000 homes and cost $200 million.

But the BPU agreed with a staff recommendation to reject a settlement negotiated between Fishermen's Energy and the state Division of Rate Counsel, which serves as the public's watchdog on utility issues. BPU staffers objected to several aspects, most notably a $19.2 million contingency fee that state residents would pay Fishermen's Energy if expected federal grants to fund the project fell through, and the project was abandoned.

It was the latest in a  string of setbacks for but the company but perhaps not unexpected.
In a news release handed out minutes after the meeting ended, Fishermen's Energy said it was "pleased to continue to work with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities toward a successful launch of the offshore wind industry in New Jersey."

Related environmental news stories:
BPU puts another obstacle in way of offshore wind pilot

New Jersey BPU rejects offshore wind project

Fishermen's Energy now monitoring wind in water off Ocean City
Fishermen's Energy Receives Department of Energy Grant
Fishermen’s Energy Installs Advanced Wind Monitoring System in Federal Waters

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