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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 2, 2006

Contact: Edward McKenna
732-741-6681


Governor’s Offshore Wind Energy Panel Releases Final Report
Recommends Intensive Study and Test Project of Offshore Wind

(06/33) TRENTON -- New Jersey should consider launching a limited and carefully monitored offshore wind-turbine test project to gather more data about the technology’s costs and benefits, the state’s Blue Ribbon Panel on the Development of Wind Turbine Facilities in Coastal Waters recommended in its final report released today.

Culminating a 15-month examination of whether offshore wind would be an appropriate alternative energy source for New Jersey, the panel proposed in its report that scientific baseline studies be conducted to further assess potential natural-resource and economic impacts before wind turbine facilities are constructed in coastal waters. During its evaluation, the panel had recognized the need for baseline studies after identifying major gaps in data about New Jersey’s offshore natural resources, including migratory birds and mammals, and how offshore wind turbines might affect them.

“I will closely review the panel’s findings and recommendations and consider them while working to shape New Jersey’s energy and coastal policies,” Governor Jon S. Corzine said. “I want to thank Mayor Edward McKenna and the panel members for their efforts in leading New Jersey toward developing progressive strategies for meeting New Jersey’s energy needs while protecting our environment and our economic vitality.”

In the final report, the panel outlines New Jersey’s growing energy-supply crisis, which has spawned high electricity costs, particularly along the state’s coast. Acknowledging that no single strategy will solve all of New Jersey’s energy problems, the report urges state agencies to promote an aggressive, multifaceted solution of energy-efficiency standards and various renewable energy technologies.

“Through the efforts of this panel, New Jersey became the first state to conduct a public and thorough investigation of the costs and benefits of developing offshore wind turbine facilities,” said Edward J. McKenna Jr., the panel’s chairman. “The panel did an excellent job of balancing the need to address our state’s serious energy constraints while ensuring protection of our precious offshore natural resources and our local economies.”

Established by executive order in December 2004, the blue-ribbon panel was directed to assess the environmental and economic issues associated with offshore wind turbines, including costs and benefits as compared to other renewable energy sources, impacts on birds and marine mammals, commercial and recreational fishing, tourism and property values. The executive order also imposed a moratorium on the funding and permitting of offshore wind turbine facilities.

For additional information or for a copy of the
panel’s final report, visit www.nj.gov/njwindpanel.

The blue ribbon panel includes six public members:

Edward J. McKenna Jr., Mayor of Red Bank, chairman of the panel, and member of the State Planning Commission;

Timothy P. Dillingham, Executive Director of the American Littoral Society;

Theodore J. Korth, Special Counsel to the New Jersey Audubon Society;

Bonnie J. McCay, Rutgers Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor at Cook College and Vice Chair of the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee, U.S. Department of Commerce and Department of Interior;

Scott A. Weiner, Transitional Chief Executive Officer of the New Jersey Schools Construction Corporation, and

Diane Wieland, Director of the Cape May County Department of Tourism, Chair of the Southern Shore Regional Tourism Council and a member of the Governor’s Tourism Advisory Council.

Three ex officio voting members:

Virginia S. Bauer, Chief Executive Officer and Secretary of the New Jersey Commerce, Economic Growth and Tourism Commission,

Jeanne M. Fox, President of the Board of Public Utilities; and

Lisa P. Jackson, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection.

 

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