First of Five Wind Turbines Raised in New Jersey

This week a crane hoisted a three-bladed rotor the size of a football field and gently placed it atop its tower completing the first of five wind turbines that will soon be generating clean wind power in New Jersey.

The attachment of the rotor to the wind turbine’s 260-foot tower, an event known as “flying the blades,” marked the completion of the first of five wind turbine generators being erected at the wind farm construction site in Atlantic City. The Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm is a project of wind energy marketer and developer Community Energy (CEI) of Wayne, Pennsylvania, and is currently under construction at the Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) wastewater treatment facility. The project will be New Jersey’s first wind farm, and the nation’s first coastal wind project featuring multiple turbines. Hull, Massachusetts has the distinction of having erected the first coastal wind power project, a one-turbine commercial 667 kW Vestas turbine. The New Jersey project will be substantially bigger, however, featuring five 1.5 MW GE wind turbines, each standing 397 feet tall. “Seeing the windmill rotor rising slowly above the skyline of Atlantic City was impressive both as a feat of construction and a symbol of energy independence,” said CEI President Brent Alderfer. The project is predicted to produce approximately 19 million kWh of emission-free electricity per year, which is enough emission-free energy to power more than 2,500 homes, which CEI says is the pollution-offset equivalent of planting almost 1.5 million trees, or not driving more than 19 million miles. When it’s windy and the turbines are generating power, much of it will go into the local grid and be used onsite at the ACUA wastewater treatment facility, a major facility requiring substantial electrical power. “With energy costs at an all-time high, the completion of the wind farm at the ACUA could not come at a better time for the ACUA and its customers. The wind farm, matched with our other energy initiatives like the solar project, landfill gas to electric, conversion of our entire 103 diesel fleet to biodiesel, and the introduction of hybrid vehicles will improve efficiency, reduce air pollution and save money,” said Richard Dovey, ACUA President. Like many commercial-scale renewable energy projects, citizens can support the project through the purchase of green tags, or renewable energy credits. This project in particular can be supported through the recently launched New Jersey CleanPower Choice Program, sponsored by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJ BPU). The CleanPower Choice program allows residential and commercial electric customers to add the additional cost necessary to support this generation to their regular electric utility bill. Customers sign up on the web or by telephone, and received a notice of this new option in their recent utility bills. “Customers and partners of Community Energy, Inc. can rightly be proud that they are doing something more than talking about future energy — they are building it,” Alderfer said. The turbines are owned by Jersey-Atlantic Wind, LLC; a partnership of Babcock & Brown, a San Francisco based investment banking firm; Central Hudson Energy Group, Inc., a New York utility; and Community Energy, Inc. The project received necessary funding support from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. A dedication event is scheduled for the new wind project on December 12, 2005.
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