Tag Archive: Offshore Wind

Offshore Wind Letter to President Obama

As gas prices slide upwards almost by the hour, even here in low-gas tax New Jersey, it’s a good week for President Barack Obama to be opening his mail.

The president just got a letter in support of the “homegrown clean energy source” the signers say offshore wind off the Atlantic Seaboard is. The signers – politicians, environmental groups and others – are from nearly 3 dozen environmental, conservation, research and health organizations, plus electeds from up & down the East Coast. The letter asks for a “bold goal” for wind development, and standards to protect marine & offshore ecosystems. From NJ, 8 politicians signed; 7 prominent Dems, and a lone Republican.

How we harness the vast power to be found in, above and under the sea is in great flux. Following BP’s Deepwater Horizon massive oil spill, President Obama reversed himself and put a 7-year ban on offshore drilling for the East & West coasts, and eastern Gulf (it’s allowed in the western Gulf). Now, the GOP Drill, Baby, Drill crowd wants to meet rising oil prices with more and faster drilling back in the western Gulf. NJ politicians including Gov. Christie oppose off-shore drilling off/near New Jersey’s shores.

NJ’s Energy Master Plan calls for a minimum of 1000 megawatts of off shore wind capacity to be developed by 2012 with 3000 MW of off-shore wind by 2020. But Sierra Club’s Jeff Tittel said this week Gov. Christie’s cuts to clean energy may impact solar or offshore wind goals. Renewable energy money gets cut by the governor at the same time he finds billions to spend to subsidice a natural gas plant which they say will encourage fracking and drilling in the Marcellus Shale that will pollute the Delaware River basin. Both the NJ and national Sierra Clubs signed the letter to the president.

Is your local green group or politician on this list?  Blue Jersey’s own Loretta Weinberg is. Check the list after the jump.

Oyster Creek or Wind and Solar Power

Gov. Christie wants Excelon to build new cooling towers at Oyster Creek.  He’s right because thermal pollution from the power plant is adversely effecting the health of Barnegat Bay. Excelon says “We’d rather close the nuclear power plant than build cooling towers.” That would be ok too.

Oyster Creek is a 645 MW plant – when it’s operating.

it could be replaced with 645 MW of wind and solar in less than 3 years …

Google to invest in New Jersey’s Offshore Wind

Google and an investment firm calling itself “Good Energies” have just announced an investment in the $5 billion Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC). Look at this map from the Google blog post on the wind project:

Google map of Atlantic Wind ConnectionWinds of Change?

The idea is that there will be offshore wind farms (green squares) whose power will be delivered to New Jersey, Delaware and Virginia with the AWC transmission line. This project would built the backbone transmission line according to google:

The Mid-Atlantic region is ideally suited for offshore wind. It offers more than 60,000 MW of offshore wind potential in relatively shallow waters that extend miles out to sea. These shallow waters make it easier to install turbines 10-15 miles offshore, meaning wind projects can take advantage of stronger winds and are virtually out-of-sight from land. With few other renewable energy options ideally suited for the Atlantic coast, the AWC backbone helps states meet their renewable energy goals and standards (PDF) by enabling a local offshore wind industry to deploy thousands of megawatts of clean, cost-effective wind energy.

The AWC backbone is critical to more rapidly scaling up offshore wind because without it, offshore wind developers would be forced to build individual radial transmission lines from each offshore wind project to the shore, requiring additional time consuming permitting and environmental studies and making balancing the grid more difficult. As those in the Northeast remember from the 2003 blackout, transmission is severely overstretched on the east coast.

The first phase of the project for $1.8 billion would connect Delaware to northern New Jersey. The Times has two interesting observations. First, even without the wind farms, moving energy from southern Virginia to northern New Jersey would help lower costs for the north. (You know how controversial new transmission lines on land across New Jersey are.) Second, there are a lot of challenges ahead, mostly man-made:

Industry experts called the plan promising, but warned that as a first-of-a-kind effort, it was bound to face bureaucratic delays and could run into unforeseen challenges, from technology problems to cost overruns.

What with the ARC Tunnel controversy, it’s nice to see someone in America is willing to take on new projects. Note also that big projects are expensive even to private businesses: Government may have to provide subsidies and Wall Street will have to raise a lot of capital.  

The Fossil Fuel Trifecta of Disaster.

We are witnessing the Fossil Fuel Trifecta of Disaster.

Dec. 22, 2008, the Kingston Steam Plant fly ash pond broke, releasing 1.2 Billion gallons of toxic sludge from a coal plant and flooding the Clinch and Emery Rivers and 3000 acres near Kingston, Tennessee.

April 5, 2010, an accident killed 29 miners in the Upper Big Branch coal mine in Montcoal, W. Virginia.

Since April 20, for 56 Days and counting, 50,000 to 84,000 barrels per day, 2.8 Million to 4.7 Million barrels of oil has been gushing into the Gulf of Mexico from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon.  If it hits the Gulf Stream we can expect tarballs from the Deepwater Horizon to wash up on the beaches of Daytona, the Outer Banks, the Jersey Shore, Coney Island, The Rockaways, Jones Beach, Fire Island, Nantucket, Cape Cod, all the way up the coast to Maine, Newfoundland, Greenland, and Iceland.

The questions are “When?” not “If?” and “How Much?”