New Jersey and Texas Pursue Offshore Wind Power
October 10, 2007
The installation of offshore wind power plants in the United States is becoming less and less a question of "if" and more and more a question of "when and where?" as both New Jersey and Texas are poised to install wind turbines off their coasts. In New Jersey, the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) approved a $19 million solicitation on October 4th to support the development of a pilot offshore wind plant within 20 miles of the New Jersey coast. The BPU will help fund the needed studies and applications for the facility, which could be located somewhere along a 72-mile stretch of coastline in southern New Jersey, running from Seaside Park to Stone Harbor. The BPU hopes to spur the construction of as much as 350 megawatts of offshore wind power. Proposals are due by January 18th, 2008, and the grant is expected to be awarded by March 2008. See the BPU press release (PDF 30 KB) and the full solicitation (PDF 142 KB). Download Adobe Reader.
In Texas, the General Land Office (GLO) has become the first U.S. entity to award "competitive" leases for offshore wind power plants. On October 2nd, the GLO offered four offshore tracts of land for lease for future wind development. While the leases were open to competitive bids, only one company actually bid on them: Wind Energy Systems Technology, LLC. The company already held a lease for an offshore wind site near Galveston. The four tracts are geographically dispersed along the length of the Texas coast. The leases allow the company to install meteorological testing towers at the four sites, and the company has four years to research the area before pursuing a commercial installation. See the Texas GLO press release (PDF 127 KB).
Meanwhile, the fate of a proposed 140-megawatt wind power facility off the southern coast of Long Island remains uncertain. The Long Island Power Authority released a report in late August that found that the wind facility would cost the typical residential customer an extra $2.50 per month, compared to the cost of an efficient power plant fueled with natural gas. The LIPA Board of Trustees met to discuss the plant on October 2nd but did not reach any definitive conclusions. See the LIPA press release and the full report (PDF 196 KB).