Fishermen’s Energy has all the permits needed to build an offshore wind farm 2.8 miles from the Atlantic City coastline, the company announced Thursday.
Workers will start laying connector lines next year and have six turbines up and running in 2014, according to a statement released Thursday.
Fishermen’s Energy needed permits and other approvals from multiple state, local and federal agencies for the project. The last was an Individual Permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. To get it, Fishermen’s Energy had to demonstrate that the project’s potential public benefits outweigh its expected environmental effects, according to the application provided by the Army Corps.
Expected to cost more than $200 million and employ 240 workers, construction of the windfarm and related infrastructure, including below-ground piping and cable, will employ strategies for minimizing disturbance to the beach, dunes, seafloor and marine life, the application states.
The cable and piping will transmit electricity from turbines to an Atlantic City Electric substation that will be installed 25 to 70 feet below Tennessee Avenue. During the project, workers and equipment will stage from the Tennessee Avenue beach, Gardner’s Basin and docks at Rhode Island Avenue, the application states.
Federal officials determined the project will not harm endangered species, essential fish species or any of their habitats before awarding the permit in June, nearly two years after Fishermen’s Energy filed its Army Corps application.
The windfarm is expected to provide about 35 permanent jobs and generate 20 to 25 megawatts of electricity, enough for 7,000 to 10,000 families. Fishermen’s Energy previously hoped its Atlantic City Offshore Windfarm would be the first in the U.S. but might not make it before another such project gets under way off the coast of Virginia.
The next step is receiving approval from the state Board of Public Utilities for the company’s pricing plan for offshore renewable energy credits, said Rhonda Jackson, spokeswoman for Fishermen’s Energy.
Neither a vote nor discussion on the matter is scheduled, but the board must make a decision by the end of the year, unless Fishermen’s Energy requests an extension, BPU spokesman Greg Reinhart said.
The board previously kicked back pricing proposals from the company because they failed to demonstrate environmental and financial benefits to New Jersey residents and electricity customers. Board members relied on multiple analyses compiled internally and by private contractors.
Enacted in August 2010, the state Offshore Wind Economic Development Act calls for 1,100 megawatts of wind energy to be produced in the state by the end of this year.
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