The US Army Corp of Engineers (USACOE) has issued a final construction permit for a 25MW offshore wind project planned for waters 4.5km off the New Jersey shore.
The permit allows developer, Fishermen’s Energy, to proceed with construction of what it refers to as "the first demonstration offshore wind farm to be built in the US", which will be located off Atlantic City. The permit stipulates six turbines, and if the company chooses to install just five turbines to achieve 25MW capacity it will require a permit modification.
Fishermen’s Energy received the USACOE permit last month, but only revealed the news yesterday. The USACOE permitting process took into consideration the views of a range of US government bodies, including the US Coast Guard, the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Onshore construction is due to begin next year, with project completion scheduled for 2014. Commenting, Fishermen’s Energy’s communications director, Rhonda Jackson, said: "This project is the catalyst needed to jumpstart the offshore wind industry in New Jersey and it sends the right signals to manufacturers that New Jersey is open for business".
Instead of pursuing a power purchase agreement, the business model developed by Fishermen’s Energy is based on generating offshore renewable energy credits (ORECs) that it will then sell to energy utilities under the terms of the state’s renewable portfolio standard.
A project analysis and pricing proposal for these credits was with the New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities (BPU) at the beginning of June. Approval of this proposal is necessary in order to compel New Jersey energy utilities to buy ORECs. The BPU has until the end of the year to make its decision.
In future, Fishermen’s Energy hopes to build a second, much larger 350MW wind farm, but in federal, rather than state, waters.