First municipal windmill in NJ

    The steady winds that blow through the shore town of Ocean Gate, New Jersey could save the town more than $20,000 a year in electricity costs.

    Residents of a small Jersey shore town are investing big money in the promise of clean and free energy. A 120-foot turbine to be erected this summer behind Ocean Gate’s town offices will be the first municipal windmill in New Jersey. (Photo: Flickr/hddod)

    Listen: [audio:090701kgwind.mp3]

    Ocean Gate’s windmill is expected to provide about 80 percent of the town building’s electricity. At that rate, Mayor Paul Kennedy expects to recoup the cost of the investment in about seven years. The town is spending about $200,000, while the state is kicking in $100,000 in a clean energy rebate. Kennedy hopes his town’s initiative will encourage others to follow.

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    Kennedy: I think everybody’s just waiting to see exactly how it’s going to pan out and I do believe that as we go along as a municipality putting this up and having it up and running and once it is successful – and I’m being very optimistic here – that more and more people more towns will get involved.

    Will Riddell is an engineering professor at Rowan University, and works with a program that finds suitable sites for windmills in New Jersey. He says towns and individual residents have shown increasing interest in taking advantage of the free power.

    Riddell: There’s a lot of potential for generating a lot of electricity on shore in New Jersey. The issue that New Jersey faces is that the areas that do have the good wind tend to have smaller lot sizes and the actual siting of the turbine can be difficult even if the wind resource is good.

    Ocean Gate officials say the 120-foot wind mill should be up and running by September.

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