New Jersey’s Untapped Potential for Wind Energy
The fight to bring wind energy to the Jersey Shore has, so far, yielded a lot of hot air. But the state has more potential than any other in the region to produce offshore wind power, according to new research.
“New Jersey is sitting on an untapped clean energy jackpot,” said Environment New Jersey Director Doug O’Malley.
O’Malley’s group issued the report detailing how offshore wind could, over the course of the next five years, create 1,700 megawatts of power.
“And what that means is it could power more than half a million homes,” O’Malley said. It would reduce pollution equal to 1.1 million cars.
But efforts have been slow in New Jersey. Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill — called the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act — five years ago. O’Malley says the state has yet to create a financing plan to make it affordable for utility customers to pay wind-farm operators for power and avoid subsidies.
“Just at the end of last year there was an extension of federal tax credits which creates certainty for the industry. And we’ve seen the industry really explode in Europe. There was four times offshore wind installed last year and what that has meant is that costs are coming down,” O’Malley said.
“We don’t believe that taxpayers should be subsidizing this. The investment should come from the private sector and these industries should be allowed to innovate. We’re not against solar or wind, what we’re against are the corporate welfare subsidies,” said Mike Proto of Americans for Prosperity.