The developers of what could become the first offshore wind farm in the United States have announced that they are poised to begin construction as soon as the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approves their plan for a 25 megawatt project which will be 2.8 miles off the coast of Atlantic City. The decision is expected to be made in March on the 5 turbine project that will provide power for 10,000 homes. When constructed, it will be the first piece of the East Coast offshore wind backbone which has been financially backed by such power players as Google as well as the federal government.
If the project gets the go-ahead from New Jersey officials, Fishermen’s Energy of Cape May, the developer, will begin construction in the fall with plans to start feeding the grid by Labor Day 2013. This would be well behind the date set by Governor Chris Christie when he signed the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act (OWEDA) in 2010 which called for 1,100 megawatts of offshore wind energy by the end of 2012. OWEDA established an offshore wind renewable energy certificate program which would allow developers to become eligible for tax credits and financial assistance. It is meant to promote new renewable energy technology and add a boost to the state’s economy.
Fishermen’s Energy of Cape May expects the $220 million project off of Atlantic City to create 240 jobs during construction and 35 permanent jobs once the turbines have been erected. The company has installed a device onshore near the projected location of the wind farm in order to begin preliminary measurements of wind speeds and directions in anticipation of the green light for construction. When completed the East Coast wind backbone is expected to stretch from Virginia all the way to New York City, providing clean, renewable energy to one of th most densely populated areas in the United States.