N.J.’s potential for offshore wind power is best along East Coast, environmental group says

 Jersey-Atlantic’s coastal wind farm in Atlantic City. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Jersey-Atlantic’s coastal wind farm in Atlantic City. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

An environmental group says New Jersey has the highest-potential for offshore wind production of any state on the East Coast.

But more than five years after Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation to move forward with offshore wind production, no projects have been approved, said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey.

“Finally, we have two wind companies that have successfully spent close to $2 million for the rights to develop offshore winds off the coast of New Jersey,” O’Malley said Monday. “We hope that is going to spark the Christie administration into action.”

Rapid development of offshore wind projects in the next five years could generate enough power for more than half a million homes and reduce pollution from carbon-based fuels, O’Malley estimated.

“Offshore wind — just like any technology — is getting more readily available, it’s getting more affordable, and we desperately need it to meet our clean energy goals,” he said.

State Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, said a proposed wind farm off Atlantic City would generate clean energy and some high-paying technical and maintenance jobs.

“In addition to the societal broad sweep benefit to the environment and long-term improvements in carbon dioxide and so on and so forth, this could be a tremendous diversification to South Jersey’s economy,” he said.

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