The issue of offshore energy is dominating our headlines more than ever as the high prices of petroleum-based products push the market towards a sustainable means for generating power. Two major alternatives - liquefied natural gas (LNG) and wind power - could potentially affect our local energy markets and coastal environment simultaneously. Several LNG facilities are being planned along the eastern seaboard, with one proposed directly outside the mouth of the NY - NJ Harbor Estuary. In addition, several projects have proposed placing wind farms adjacent to the our coastlines to supplement current energy production in the region. Wind farms have been a controversial issue for conservationists and decision-makers alike, as the potential costs and benefits of this type of energy production are just now being discovered. In New Jersey, a Blue Ribbon Panel was asked to determine the potential impacts to the coastal environment and local energy markets and their findings suggested that the State go forward with a "test project" of 80 turbines offshore, potentially opening the door for wind power throughout the region states the Asbury Park Press in the article below. JB
Asbury Park Press 05/3/06
By Todd B. Bates and Kirk Moore
A "test project" with up to 80 wind turbines should be built off New Jersey's coast to learn more about the potential impact and benefits of offshore wind power, a state panel recommended.
But the potential impact may be significant and New Jersey must stress conservation before pursuing energy facilities in the ocean, according to a minority report included in the package.
"I will closely review the panel's findings and recommendations and consider them while working to shape New Jersey's energy and coastal policies," Gov. Corzine said in a state Department of Environmental Protection statement e-mailed Tuesday.
Tony Bogan of Bogan's Deep Sea Fishing Center in Brielle said "it's hard to react without knowing specifically where (the test project) would go."
"I'm encouraged by the fact that they're taking a step-by-step approach," Bogan said of the report.
The final report to Corzine of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Development of Wind Turbine Facilities in Coastal Waters is the culmination of months of work.
Then-Gov. Richard J. Codey created the nine-member panel in December 2004 and established a 15-month moratorium on the development of offshore wind turbines. The panel was to consider the environmental and economic costs and benefits of turbines and make recommendations on their appropriateness.
The report recommends studies before, during and after the construction of an offshore wind turbine test project. The project would generate as much as 350 megawatts of electricity and have as many as 80 wind turbines.
NJ Wind Panel Report