Atlantic City Offshore Wind Project

In 2006, Governor Corzine’s Blue Ribbon Offshore Wind Energy Panel released a report which recommended that New Jersey launch a limited and carefully monitored offshore pilot wind turbine test project to gather more data about the technology’s economic costs, environmental impacts, and overall risks and benefits.

Image of Atlantic City BoardwalkIn October 2007 New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities issued a request for proposals to Blue Ribbon Panel’s objective.

In March 2008 Fisherman’s Energy responded with a two phase project.

  • Phase I of the project (FERN Blueribbon Wind farm 1) would be located within about 692 acres of state waters approximately three miles off the coast of Atlantic City. Eight 2.5 MW turbines would be oriented in a linear array to produce 20 MW for interconnection with the PJM transmission grid and power sold to rural customers in New Jersey.
  • Phase II is anticipated to be located in about 20,000 acres located within federal waters approximately seven miles off the coast (FERN Blueribbon Wind farm 2). 66 turbines oriented in a staggered grid array would produce about 330 MW. Power would be sold to municipal, commercial, industrial and other Phase II anticipated wind farmcustomers in New Jersey.

Fisherman’s Energy is a company founded by a core group of East Coast commercial fishermen to respond to the public’s need to develop the ocean for renewable wind energy. Fishermen’s Energy intends to be a proactive agent for change, and brings a unique ability to harvest the sea for energy and fish, side by side, in an environmentally responsible manner. Their goal is to make fisherman and others connected to maritime resources agents of change rather than victims of it.

An off shore windfarm is the most viable option for New Jersey to meet its goal of having 20% of its energy consumption produced by alternate energy sources by 2020. This project will increase the 2020 New Jersey Energy Master Plan goals from 1000MW to 3000MW from alternate energy sources.


Proposed Atlantic City Windfarm

Phase one of the project is essentially a large scale social, ecological, economic, and engineering experiment to find out the viability of off shore wind energy resources in the state of New Jersey. And phase one is close enough to shore that it is still in NJ state waters meaning that it is regulated by state and not federal agencies.

Sustainability Program Wind Project in Atlantic CityThe first step is collecting reams of preliminary research data to find the hypothetical viability of the project; based on factors such as Cost Benefit Analysis of the project, the potential impact it will have on local and migratory marine and avian species, the potential impact it will have on marine resources and marine resource based economies, the potential effect visible turbines will have on New Jersey’s shore region tourism, monitoring offshore wind speeds with LIDAR, and accounting for potential engineering setbacks/ complications.

The second step is monitoring the entire process from breaking ground to completion and there after to find the real world implications of a offshore windfarm providing 20MW of electricity to the state of New Jersey. The hope is that potential implications estimated in the first step are the same or close to the real world implications of this project. Yet there is always the factor of the unforeseen, especially in dealing with possibly the first offshore wind farm in the Western Hemisphere. While unforeseen challenges may not be favorable, phase one is meant to be a documented learning experience from which these challenges can be overcome and avoided in phase two and future offshore wind projects at a larger scale.

Phase two of the project is a much bigger 330MW wind farm located about seven miles off the coast. The increased distance from shore means that it will be in Federal United States waters, meaning it would be regulated by federal rather than state agencies. It is hoped that the completion of phase two will result in the United States' first large scale offshore wind farm.

Fisherman’s Energy is using a LiDAR system buoy, shown in figure 2, to collect data on the wind speeds at both phase one and two sites. LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging. The system shoots out lasers that are Sustainability Program Atlantic City Wind Farm, Fisherman's Energy, LiDAR system buoyreflected by an object and then bounce back to the LiDAR system. Fisherman’s Energy’s LiDAR system buoy uses air particles to reflect the lasers and by periodically sending out lasers, the system can calculate wind speed of a given area based on the difference of return time of the lasers. However, since LiDAR is a relatively new technology, Fisherman’s Energy wanted quality assurance that the measured wind speeds are correct; this is where Stockton student researchers come into the equation. In January 2011 a team of Stockton students, under the guidance of Dr. Patrick Hossay, started constructing two 50 meter and one 60 meter NRG XHD Tall Towers for weather monitoring. When completed the three towers will be in the range of the LiDAR buoy and collecting wind speed data from three heights and wind direction from two heights on each tower. The data is then collected by a data logger on each tower. Each logger has cellular transmission device that then sends this data to Fisherman’s Energy periodically. The wind speed and direction readings for each tower location can then be compared to LiDAR systems readings for each tower location. The hope is that LiDAR system will have the same readings as the towers assuring that the readings it is getting for the offshore sites are accurate. The three tower sites, shown in figure 3, had to be picked based on their relative distance from the LiDAR buoy and lack of obstruction between the buoy and tower. The first 50 meter tower site is at the ACUA waste management facility, located off of Delilah road in Egg Harbor Township. The Second 50 meter tower site is located on the campus of the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, just next to the college’s arboretum. The site of 60 meter tower has yet to be determined and is currently being looked into, it will be constructed this summer. In addition, an already constructed tower at the Cap May Coast Guard Station may be used to evaluate the LiDAR system buoy.

 

Works Cited

Information on Fisherman’s Energy and on the Atlantic Windfarm Project and Figures 1-3:

Information on NRG XHD TallTower Construction: