TRENTON – The Senate Environment and Energy Committee today approved a bill sponsored by Senator Jim Whelan that would pave the way for the increased development of wind power in Atlantic City, helping the state meet its ambitious renewable energy goals.
“The Steel Pier in Atlantic City currently serves as an ideal location to help us increase our wind powered energy capacity,” said Sen. Whelan (D-Atlantic). “Hopefully this project will serve as a successful pilot program that can eventually be expanded along New Jersey’s coast, enabling us to solidify our place as a leader in renewable energy.”
The bill, S-212, has been crafted to enable Atlantic City to serve as a pilot location for the construction of a new wind dependent energy facility by creating an exemption in the “Coastal Area Facility Review Act” that would allow such a facility to be constructed on existing piers within 500 feet of the mean high water line. Currently, only water dependent energy facilities are allowed to be constructed within 500 feet of the mean high water line, provided all other requirements of law, rule or regulation are met.
The bill would serve to advance a state policy that currently encourages the development of wind energy in order to help New Jersey meet its goal of tripling the amount of wind power used to 3,000 megawatts by 2020. The 2020 goal amounts to 13 percent of New Jersey’s total energy and would be enough to power 800,000 homes. This would ensure that off-shore wind energy fulfills roughly one half of New Jersey’s requirement, as outlined in 2005 legislation, that 22.5 percent of the state’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2020.
The bill now heads to the full Senate for a vote.
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