U.S. Water News Online
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Which structures on the Atlantic
City skyline are 380 feet tall, have no slot machines and can turn
ocean breezes into electricity?
The newest ones -- the windmills.
Betting on energy that Mother Nature produces for free, the county
utilities authority and a private developer formally dedicated New
Jersey's first "wind farm", hoping to provide clean, renewable
electricity for a sewage plant here and homes and businesses
The Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm will begin producing about 7.5
megawatts electricity a year later this month from its site at the
Atlantic County Utilities Authority's wastewater treatment plant.
That's enough energy to provide electricity to about 2,500 homes.
The $12 million project, which was underwritten with $3.5 million
in state aid, is aimed at harnessing winds blowing in off the ocean
at 15 to 25 miles per hour and relaying the power to the sewage plant
and to the PJM power grid system that serves Pennsylvania, New Jersey
and Maryland, officials said.
"It's supposedly one of the windiest sites in New Jersey," said
Richard S. Dovey, president of the Atlantic County Utilities
Authority, which leased the five turbine sites to developer Community
Energy Inc., of Wayne, Pa., for 20 years and agreed to buy the
electricity they produce in that period.
Clean energy advocates like the location because of its
visibility. Located near the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, the wind
turbines rise up from the salt marshes along Clam Thorofare, clearly
visible to gamblers heading into and out of Atlantic City on U.S. 30.
Made of steel, each turbine tower is powered by three 130-foot
long Fiberglas blades that are connected to rotors that power a
generator and send the electricity to a transformer. The towers,
which are 15 feet across at the base, are designed to withstand
Category 5 hurricane winds, according to the New Jersey Bureau of
"It's renewable, it's clean, it's the future," said Atlantic
County Executive Dennis Levinson. "And if they don't work, they're a
helluva tourist attraction."
The project is the nation's first coastal wind farm, according to
Ellen Lutz, regional director for the U.S. Department of Energy, who
was among the speakers at a brisk outdoor dedication ceremony.
"New Jersey is again leading the nation in clean energy
investment," said Jeanne Fox, president of the New Jersey Board of
Public Utilities, which provided the public funding under a state
clean energy incentive program.
New Jersey residents who want to support the project can buy
energy from a new "CleanPower Choice Program" sponsored by the state,
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