Friday, July 10, 2009

Wind Adds Power To Ocean Gate

After two years of efforts, Ocean Gate, NJ broke ground to build the first "small wind" municipal turbine in the state.
"Ocean Gate is just a phenomenal role model for other communities," said state Board of Public Utilities President Jeanne M. Fox. "This is a historic ground-breaking. While you're small [about 2200 residents], you're really mighty in what you've done. I really commend you for what you've done for the state and for Ocean Gate."

Starting with a proposal to the borough council from retired Navy engineer Jim Fry in 2007, the town began researching the project.

That included having an anemometer installed to test the wind, adopting the Small Wind Model Ordinance, and researching turbines.

According to the N.J. Board of Public Utilities, Ocean gate will utilize two 50 kilowatt turbines to power the municipal office building and the water treatment plant solely on wind energy.

The system is estimated to save the borough 224,000 kilowatts of electricity purchased from traditional sources, and thus prevents 18 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the air. The borough has received nearly $200,000 in financial incentives from the state's Clean Energy Program for the approximately $600,000 project.

The borough was also recognized last fall as being the state's Clean Energy Municipality of the Year by the state Board of Public Utilities.

A wind feasibility study done by Rowan University confirmed that Ocean Gate and surrounding communities along the Toms River near the mouth of Barnegat Bay have consistent and reliable wind, with an average daily speed of 6 m.p.h. year around. That amount rates the area, according to the United States Wind Resource Map, as consistently "good" as a potential wind resource.

The state's first wind farm was built in 2007 outside Atlantic City by the Atlantic County Utilities Authority and a private energy group. It is also the first such coastal facility in the United States. Five pinwheel-like 40-story-tall turbines are utilized.

Ocean Gate's turbine will probably be only about as high as the town's water tower.

Ocean Gate is located on the south bank of the Toms River in an area popular with sailors for its confluence of wind with those from Barnegat Bay.

Officials plan to have the first municipal wind turbine in the state finished by the end of summer.

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