Wind energy proposal at Port of Paulsboro ‘Not dead, but on life support,’ Burzichelli says

Source: By Rebecca Forand, South Jersey Times  • Posted: Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Paulsboro Wind Energy B Hub Art 36X24_4 (2)

An artistic rendering of a wind energy converter. A new feasibility study says the Paulsboro Port will be a viable place to construct these converters to be shippped to the Atlantic Ocean for a wind energy project. 

A plan that promised to bring hundreds of jobs and alternative energy to New Jersey — including construction at the Port of Paulsboro — is indefinitely stalled as the federal government and the Board of Public Utilities have slowed down momentum for wind energy projects.

The Atlantic Wind Connection, which would link energy hubs in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey, planned to use the Port of Paulsboro as a construction sight for converter platforms for an offshore electrical transmission cable.

Originally proposed in 2012, a feasibility study was completed in 2013 that measured the Port’s ability to handle the work.

It was estimated to create 500 to 600 people for a period of 18 to 24 months during the construction phase of the converters.

However, with wind energy projects stalled throughout the area, this one has been put on the back burner.

“There is capacity at the Paulsboro Port to still facilitate that if the present administration would get everything in order. It certainly isn’t happening as quickly as any of us would like,” Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-3 of Paulsboro) said.

The land under the ocean that would be needed for the project is federal land, and the federal government has yet to lease the land, despite the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management proposing the sale of leases for nearly 344,0000 acres off New Jersey’s shore last July.

In addition, the BPU has not yet completed the processes necessary to move forward on Offshore Renewable Energy Credits, or ORECs.

The credits will allow one renewable energy credit for every 1,000 kilowatt hour of clean electricity generated.

“The problem is there. The will to get it done from the federal level seems to be stalled and our state BPU is distracted and we can’t get them to put it on the front burner,” Burzichelli said. “It’s not dead but it’s on life support.”

Despite Holt Logistics taking on a major part of the Port of Paulsboro, it will not be using the entire facility, leaving plenty of room for the wind construction project, if it is to come to fruition.