Wind Energy No Longer Blowing Smoke
Like many other forms of alternative energy, wind has always danced on the cusp of mainstream acceptance. A farm here, a windmill there and the occasional protest portrayed a mild level of public interest. All that could change very quickly as a strong, ahem, head wind of recent news now reveals that wind energy is indeed picking up major steam.
First up is surprising news that Perth Amboy, New Jersey may become a major hub of the wind turbine industry. According to MyCentralJersey.com, the proposed 100-acre waterfront site would be turned into a hub of wind turbine manufacturing, hoping to bring hundreds of green-energy jobs to the Middlesex County city. Companies that set up wind energy facilities in the area can grab shares of up to $100 million in state tax credits. But why does Perth Amboy make sense? Here’s what Barry Rosengarten, chairman of two city development boards had to say in the My Central New jersey piece:
“The port not only features deep water, with direct access to the entire Atlantic region, but is also New Jersey’s most centrally located port. The site is sheltered by Staten Island and can easily accommodate the large barges and shipping vessels required to move wind turbine towers and their components to their bases in the Atlantic.”
Rosengarten said Perth Amboy has struggled as other industries have left but still possesses a “skilled labor pool” and would benefit from “the economic stimulus provided by new green jobs.”
Wind is a Breeze on the (NJ) Cape
Not to be outdone by its northern cousin Perth Amboy, Cape May, New Jersey was among six municipalities state wide that earned silver-level certification for its commitment to preserving quality of life by promoting environmental management and conservation, according to Shore News Today.
One of the beneficiaries is Cape May Elementary School that hopes to install a wind turbine in an effort to “enhance educational opportunities at the school, reduce electrical costs and give residents a chance to see what one of these turbines will look like,” according to Mayor Ed Mahaney. Here’s more about the Sustainable Jersey program from Shore News Today:
Across the state, 350 communities have registered for the “Sustainable Jersey” program, which ties commitment to environmental stewardship and recycling efforts to state and private grant money. Typically, a town will select 10 to 12 items from a potential list of over 117 actions to obtain the bronze level certification; the silver level requires a higher commitment.
“Today, becoming a sustainable town is simply good government,” said Pam Mount, chair of the Sustainable Jersey Board of Trustees. “There are real financial benefits from implementing practices that lead to cost savings in energy, water and garbage bills.”
Meeting the Winds of Change
Other than the potential Perth Amboy deal, what other wind energy developments are percolating that indicate demand is about to spike? Glad you asked. Turns out a company called Wind Energy Services, a specialist in composite components such as blades, nacelles and nose cones, announced that they have expanded their service offerings to meet the evolving needs of wind farm operators – and as a result anticipate doubling their workforce in the coming year, according to a recent announcement.
In addition, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that wind turbine maker Suzlon Group has received a nearly 4.70 billion rupees ($90 million) order to supply, set up, operate and maintain a 75.6 MW wind power project for Coromandel Wind Energy Company Ltd. in the western state of Rajasthan, a joint statement said Monday.
But all of this wind momentum doesn’t always paint a rosy picture, as a recent article in Farm Futures points out called, “Wind Energy Needs Some Certainty to Ensure Continued Growth.” Here’s what Iowa Farm Bureau Bio-Economy Manager Dennis Harding said in the article regarding a four year extension to the Production Tax Credit for wind energy.
“It’s kind of what all industries are asking for and that is some kind of certainty in the system. So with a four-year production tax credit that would ensure some certainty into the wind energy industry that then leads to a more confident investment that is taking place.”
Do you think continued tax credits will ensure steady growth for wind?