One step closer: First American offshore wind turbines installed

August 10th, 2016

Construction on the country’s first offshore wind farm began last spring, off the coast of Rhode Island, and the project is expected to be fully operational later this fall.

With an installed capacity of 30 megawatts, the five-turbine Deepwater Wind wind farm will generate enough electricity to supply all of Block Island’s needs, while also sending some to mainland Rhode Island. This will be a clean, affordable and welcome development for Block Island’s residents, who have long had to rely on imported, expensive and polluting diesel fuel for energy.

“Today’s turbine installation shows that offshore wind power is a real, viable option for states along the coast to transition to clean energy,” said Miles Grant, a National Wildlife Federation spokesman. “This can and must be the beginning of something big – a new clean energy chapter for America that can create thousands of jobs and protect wildlife and communities from the dangers of climate change.”

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo also celebrated the milestone, tweeting:


This progress is happening at a time when support for growing wind power has never been higher: 91 percent of likely voters want to expand wind energy, according to a recent poll. And this support is truly bipartisan, with 82 percent of self-described conservatives saying they think transitioning to a clean energy economy is important.

Stay tuned for more updates on Deepwater Wind’s progress on this historic project throughout the fall.

New York Wind Farm Part of Larger Offshore Energy Ambitions

July 20th, 2016

A New York utility plans to approve a wind farm off eastern Long Island that it says would be the nation’s largest offshore wind energy project built to date.

The project would be the first phase of a more ambitious effort to construct hundreds of electricity-producing turbines in the Atlantic Ocean in the coming years.

The announcement that the Long Island Power Authority plans to approve a proposed 90-megawatt, 15-turbine wind farm in U.S. waters east of Montauk at a meeting next week was greeted enthusiastically by energy experts, elected officials and environmentalists.

“This is obviously an important development,” said Jeffrey Firestone, a professor at the University of Delaware and an expert on offshore wind. “Hopefully, this will be something toward facilitating a more regional approach to the need for offshore wind energy.”

The U.S. lags behind Europe and others in development of offshore wind energy because of regulatory hurdles and opposition from fossil fuel and fishing interests, among other challenges. Many wind farms in Europe are already producing hundreds of megawatts of power.

The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has issued several leases for wind projects along the Atlantic coast, but none have come to fruition yet. LIPA said its project would be the next one built after one opens near Block Island, Rhode Island, later this year.

“This is the first in New York, it’s the largest to date, but we’re looking at this and seeing a tremendous offshore wind resource that will be developed and it’s not the last,” LIPA chief executive officer Thomas Falcone said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday.

“I think this is a very big step … for New York, but also for the United States.”

LIPA is awarding the project to Deepwater Wind. That company is working on the Rhode Island wind farm, which will feature five turbines creating 30 megawatts of power. Deepwater Wind would build and own the New York project, selling power to LIPA; financial terms still need to be negotiated. Falcone said he expected a final agreement by early next year.

“New York is boldly leading the way on a clean-energy revolution that will transform the nation’s energy future,” Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski said in a statement.

The LIPA project, which would power approximately 50,000 homes, is considered the first phase in Deepwater Wind’s ambitions to eventually build turbines producing 1,000 megawatts of power in the waters between eastern Long Island, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Falcone said because Deepwater Wind has already acquired the lease for the site in 2013 and has already performed initial marine surveys, construction could be expedited and power could be reaching customers by the end of 2022.

The turbines would be placed about 30 miles offshore, putting them over the horizon and out of view of land.

A scallop industry trade organization, the Fisheries Survival Fund, has raised concerns about some wind farm proposals, but not this one. Important scallop areas were removed from the possible lease areas for this wind farm, said Drew Minkiewicz, an attorney for the fund. He cautioned that other commercial fishermen could raise objections.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the LIPA project will “help achieve the state’s ambitious goal of supplying 50 percent of our electricity from renewable energy by 2030.”

LIPA also is planning to build two new battery energy storage facilities with a company called LI Energy. The facilities will consist of lithium-ion battery technology designed and installed byGeneral Electric; they will be used when LIPA is facing peak demand for electricity.

Federal officials announced earlier this year plans to auction the rights to build a wind farm on a 127-square-mile wedge, 11 miles south of Long Island’s popular Jones Beach. That project, which has the backing of New York state officials, still faces regulatory and other hurdles before it can proceed.


Associated Press writer Jennifer McDermott in Providence, Rhode Island, contributed to this report.


This story has been corrected to show Long Island Power Authority will contract with company to purchase energy from wind farm, not construct it. It also has been corrected to show that the Rhode Island project under construction is in state waters and that different project would be in federal waters, and to show that the company slated to build battery storage facilities is LI Energy, not Deepwater Wind.


N.J. governor vetoes bill supporting Fishermen’s offshore project

May 3rd, 2016

Posted: Monday, May 2, 2016 3:35 pm

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill supporting a proposed windmill farm off the coast of Atlantic City.

Christie on Monday rejected the bill that would permit, but not require, the state Board of Public Utilities to approve the wind farm off the coast, to be built by Fishermen’s Energy.

He says the legislation would “usurp” the board’s authority by compelling it to receive applications.

An environmental group that strongly supports the plan says New Jersey has the greatest potential to develop offshore wind energy of any northeastern U.S. state.

Concerns that large subsidies might be needed have led the BPU to reject the proposal three times.

Senate votes to increase wind energy funding

April 27th, 2016

The Senate passed an amendment Tuesday that would keep funding for wind energy research and development at its current level and restore a cut that appropriators had put into their bill.

The amendment, from Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), would provide $95.4 million for the Department of Energy’s wind program, up from the $80 million in the bill proposed by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).


Alexander, chairman of the subcommittee that oversees energy and water spending bill, is a frequent critic of wind energy, which he says gets too much government assistance and should compete on its own.“We have sometimes heard that wind is a mature industry and that that is why the funding for research should be revoked or lowered,” Merkley said on the Senate floor.

“But, in fact, as wind is emerging, we’re seeing continuous innovations that are resulting in different designs and different strategies for integrating intermittent wind energy into the grid,” he said. “As that wind component becomes substantially larger, we need to understand the details about how we accommodate it effectively.”

Alexander defended the funding level in the original bill.

“I wonder if the American taxpayers wouldn’t think that $32 billion is enough to spend on giant windmills,” Alexander said. “That’s the amount that the Congressional Research Service has said that Congress has spent of taxpayers’ money to subsidize wealthy people so they can build giant wind turbines across America.”


Homeowners Are Furious With Their Power Company

By Home Solar Programs

There is a new policy in 2016 that qualifies homeowners who live in specific zip codes to be eligible for $1,000′s of dollars in Government funding to install solar Read More

The amendment passed 54-42.

The Senate also voted to pass a bipartisan measure from Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) to add $50 million to fund the Army Corps of Engineers’ pilot projects aimed at conserving water in the Colorado River Basin.

Senators voted to reject a proposal from Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) to defund federal support for local and state environmental projects through the Army Corps.

Happy Earth Day!!!

April 22nd, 2016

This Earth Day, let’s get really big stuff done for our planet.

What are we waiting for? The time is now.
Earth Day 2016 – Trees for the Earth poster
Trees for the Earth
Earth Day Toolkit
Register your Event
Find an Event in Your Area
Billion Acts of Green
Countdown to 2020
The movement continues.

We are now entering the 46th year of a movement that continues to inspire, challenge ideas, ignite passion, and motivate people to action.

In 1970, the year of our first Earth Day, the movement gave voice to an emerging consciousness, channeling human energy toward environmental issues. Forty-six years later, we continue to lead with groundbreaking ideas and by the power of our example.

And so it begins. Today. Right here and right now. Earth Day is more than just a single day — April 22, 2016. It’s bigger than attending a rally and taking a stand.

This Earth Day and beyond, let’s make big stuff happen. Let’s plant 7.8 billion trees for the Earth. Let’s divest from fossil fuels and make cities 100% renewable. Let’s take the momentum from the Paris Climate Summit and build on it.

Let’s start now. And let’s not stop.
- See more at:


April 1st, 2016

But experts and advocates don’t expect it to happen under Gov. Christie, who’s consistently questioned the economics of the clean technology

Click to expand/close

New Jersey still has an opportunity to be a leader in an emerging offshore wind industry, despite years of delay in putting together a financial plan to lure developers to build along the coast, officials said yesterday.

The state is well positioned to develop offshore wind farms thanks to natural features that include a relatively shallow coastal shelf; abundant wind resources; and a proximity to markets with a demand for electricity, industry executives and government officials said at a forum at Stockton University.

But it may not happen for at least a few years. With Gov. Chris Christie questioning the economics of the technology, and developers having to jump through regulatory hoops prior to winning approval for any projects, it likely will be at least that long.

“We may need a new governor on this one,’’ said Sen. Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic), one of the panelists and a longtime advocate of offshore wind projects, including a stalled smaller demonstration project proposed three miles off Atlantic City.

Nevertheless, the two developers that have secured leases on hundreds of thousands of acres to build huge wind farms expressed optimism about their prospects off the Jersey coast.

“This is a site very similar to the second round of projects we developed in the United Kingdom,’’ said Carolyn Heeps, developer of strategy development for RES America Inc., which has partnered with a Danish company to build one-third of Europe’s offshore wind capacity.

Paul Rich, project development director for the other developer, U.S. Wind, Inc., agreed. “We’re very glad to be in New Jersey,’’ Rich said. His company also has won leases off the Maryland coast and hopes to have an offshore wind farm in service by the first quarter of 2020. What is happening in Maryland is likely to occur in New Jersey, he said.

Maryland is the only state along the Eastern Seaboard to have a fiscal mechanism in place to pay for at least some of the electricity generated from the projected wind farm, which will be designed initially to generate 750 megawatts.

New Jersey has yet to come up with a financial mechanism to pay for the wind farms, but that should not set back the state’s efforts in offshore wind, according to Walter Cruickshank, deputy director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which is overseeing federal efforts to promote the renewable energy source. 

The fact that it has a law allowing it to establish such a mechanism puts it ahead of other states, Cruickshank said. “It’s an important issue but New Jersey is well positioned to be a leader,’’ he said.

Under an offshore wind development law enacted almost six years ago, the state Board of Public Utilities was supposed to propose regulations by early 2011 that would give credits — dubbed Offshore Renewable Energy Credits — to developers to help finance the wind farms. Utility customers would pay for the credits by a surcharge on their monthly bills.

“You can’t finance a project unless you have someone to pay for the electricity,’’ said Paul Gallagher, chief operating officer of Fishermen’s Energy, which is trying to convince the Christie administration to approve a small 24-megawatt wind farm off Atlantic City, a project first proposed in 2011. It has been rejected several times by the BPU as being too costly to ratepayers.

Rich also said the credits are “absolutely vital’’ to getting the industry off the ground.

The developers touted the economic benefits and jobs that would be created if New Jersey is successful in developing a robust offshore wind industry, especially if it is large enough to attract manufacturers of turbines and other equipment needed for the sector.

Copyright 2014 NJ Spotlight
Read more in Energy & Environment

Fishermen’s Energy Ocean Wind Project Tries Again for Governor’s Approval

March 29th, 2016

Fishermen’s Energy, a consortium of South Jersey commercial fisheries that formed a wind power company to influence where such farms on the ocean can locate – away from important fishing and ocean scalloping grounds – has sought for six years to set up a demonstration wind farm 2.8 nautical miles off Atlantic City. Its plan for six wind turbines, producing 24 megawatts of electricity, has the backing of the New Jersey Legislature, environmental groups including the Sierra Club and the federal Department of Energy, and it obtained permits from state and local entities.

The only roadblock has been the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. The BPU must issue a wind renewable energy certificate, a funding mechanism for the proposed project, before the small wind farm can move forward. The BPU has said in the past that the project would be too costly for ratepayers to support. Fishermen’s Energy has always denied that claim, stating the BPU had come to a faulty conclusion through faulty mathematics.

After a 2015 bill that would have given Fishermen’s Energy Wind Project an expedited pass through the BPU was pocket-vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie, the Legislature recently passed a revised bill that now awaits the governor’s signature.

The revised Senate bill, S-988, passed the Senate, 23-11, in February. The concurrent bill A-3093 was passed by the Assembly on March 14.

The Senate bill was sponsored by Sen. Jim Whelan, with the concurrent bill sponsored by Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo, both of Atlantic County. The revised bill eliminated language that directed the BPU to grant the required permit, and it deleted some language in the previous Assembly bill that would have eliminated a cost-benefit analysis. The cost-benefit analysis has been the bone of contention between the BPU and Fishermen’s Energy for the past two years.

Paul Gallagher, Fishermen’s Energy’s chief operating officer and general counsel, said he has no fears of such an analysis by the BPU now that certain qualifications have changed.

A company from China was originally going to supply the turbines, but now Fishermen’s Energy has decided to purchase turbines from Siemens, the world’s leader in wind turbine technology, with ocean turbines built in Germany and Denmark. On Tuesday, Gallagher said, “In December, Congress passed a five-year extension of the tax benefit project that makes it easier to attract investors. So we have a newly configured project, using Siemens turbines made in Germany and Denmark, traditional Western financing, plus tax incentives to make it even a more cost-effective project then what was rejected before” by the BPU.

“The bill is a relatively benign bill. It tells the BPU to let us come in and submit again. It’s on the governor’s desk, and we hope he signs it.”

If signed by the governor, the new bill would require the BPU to provide within 60 days of enactment of the law “a 30-day period for the submission of applications for certain qualified wind energy projects that the board is currently authorized to approve under existing law. Specifically … a qualified wind energy project that is located in territorial waters offshore of a municipality in which casino gaming is authorized.” It also provides that from time to time, the board could provide additional 30-day periods for applications of such projects or for other lengths of time.

Gallagher said if the governor signs the bill, Fishermen’s Energy is ready to submit its plans for the wind renewable energy certificate.

According to Fishermen’s Energy, the cost to build its offshore wind project would be $199.17 per megawatt of electricity and provide enough electricity to power 10,000 homes. It claims the cost of implementing the project would be less than a dollar a year for the average consumer, and ratepayers would be isolated from construction cost risk, performance risk and decommissioning risk.

It would also provide 400 construction jobs, said Gallagher.

Formed in 2005, Fishermen’s Energy includes owners of Atlantic Cape Fisheries; Cold Spring Fish and Supply Co. out of Cape May; Dock Street Seafood out of Wildwood; Eastern Shore Seafood out of Mappsville, Va.; and Viking Village in Barnegat Light.

Fishermen’s Energy has received all necessary permits to finalize the construction planning, fabrication and deployment of the wind farm. The applicant claims no other project in America is more prepared to put steel in the water.

The project now has a $50 million funding agreement in place with the U.S. Department of Energy, and it qualifies for the 30 percent Investment Tax Credit signed into law late last year, said Gallagher.

Two Companies Win Leases
To Develop Farms Off NJ

New Jersey may soon see wind energy in the Atlantic Ocean.

In November, the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Ocean Energy Management held an offshore land lease sale for the purpose of developing future wind farms. Although Fishermen’s Energy participated in the auction, it lost out to two other concerns.

US Wind Inc. won the right to develop the Wind Energy Area of 183,353 acres off Ocean and Atlantic counties, while RES America Developments Inc. won the right to develop the 160,480 Wind Energy Area acres from Atlantic City south to Cape May County.

The New Jersey Wind Energy Area starts about 7 nautical miles offshore and extends roughly 21 nautical miles seaward. To see a map of the New Jersey Wind Energy Area, go to

Each lease has a preliminary term of one year, during which the lessee submits a site assessment plan to BOEM for approval. A site assessment plan describes the activities (installation of meteorological towers and buoys) for the assessment of the wind resources and ocean conditions of its commercial lease area.

Although Fishermen’s Energy might be considered a competitor, Gallagher sees the possibility of working with the two larger companies on larger wind power projects. “We know the lay of the offshore land, and we are five to six years ahead of everyone else in that regard. There may be an opportunity to work with them.”

Gallagher said he would be speaking at a New Jersey Wind Energy Forum on March 29 at Stockton University. He will be accompanied by principals of US Wind and RES America, who will discuss their development plans.

“I’m anxious to hear what their plans are,” he said.

In addition, the deputy director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Walter Cruikshank, will give the keynote address, and members of the 2nd Legislative District will address the public. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) will have a video address on the importance of wind energy to New Jersey. A discussion on the introduction of an offshore wind renewable energy credit system will explain how it works.

The public can participate in a question and answer session. The forum from 4:30 to 7 p.m. in the campus theater is free, but participants must register at, as there is a limited number of tickets.f-Atlantic-City-Windfarm

Introducting UGE onDEMAND

September 15th, 2015

62acfe1d-8d7a-4307-a84c-a50e0e25b6ffIntroducting UGE onDEMAND

Today, we are excited to launch UGE onDEMAND, our complete energy storage solution powered by Samsung’s leading battery technology. By combining our proprietary system design expertise and project financing, we bring the most complete solution to the marketplace, offering our clients immediate savings through a better energy experience.
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Grid Resilience – Did you know that the number of monthly grid outages increased six-fold between 2000 and 2013? When the grid goes down, so do our competitors’ offerings. When the grid goes down, UGE onDEMAND kicks-in, offering complete energy security.
Maximize Solar PV – In many areas of the world net metering is either capped or doesn’t exist. UGE onDEMAND allows our clients to maximize their utilization of solar energy, which is often the lowest cost form of energy available.
According to Navigant Research, this market is expected to see tremendous growth in the next 10 years, from revenues of less than $1 billion in 2014 to more than $15 billion by 2024. We look forward to leveraging UGE onDEMAND for our clients around the world, furthering the adoption of affordable, renewable energy.
Get in touch with us to learn about UGE onDEMAND.

Winds Of Change: Rhode Island Hopes For First Offshore Wind Farm

August 3rd, 2015

Aboard a ferry off the coast of Rhode Island, state and federal officials take a close look at a steel structure poking out of the ocean. It’s the first foundation affixed to the seafloor for a five-turbine wind farm off the state’s coast.

It’s a contrast to what’s happening off the coast of Massachusetts. Developer Cape Wind has spent more than 10 years and millions of dollars there on a massive wind farm that it may never build.

Rhode Island’s project, Deepwater Wind, has sailed through by comparison, in part because of its great location, explains Chief Executive Officer Jeff Grybowski. The wind farm will sit three miles off the coast of Block Island, about 12 miles away from the mainland.

“The location off the southeast corner of Block Island has incredibly strong wind and it is quite far from the mainland,” Grybowski says.

The nearly 600-foot-tall turbines are far enough from the mainland that most people won’t be able to see them from shore. As Grybowski points out, the state of Rhode Island wanted to pioneer this project and chose where to build it.

“That was based on many years of research and public discussion,” Grybowski says.

Deepwater Wind underwent far more extensive impact studies than Cape Wind, and the company spent more time engaging important stakeholders. Not everyone in Rhode Island loved the project from the start, but unlike Cape Cod, Block Island wants to replace its expensive source of energy.

“We are one of the highest rates in the country,” says David Milner, general manager for the Block Island Power Company, which supplies all of the island’s electricity by importing a million gallons of diesel oil every year.

“We got up over 50 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is a huge burden on the businesses out here and the individuals,” Milner says.

In New England, the average rate is 16 cents per kilowatt-hour for all sectors.

Year-round Block Island resident Peter Baute stands on the iconic Mohegan Bluffs, which boasts panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.

“That’s interesting there’s two platforms out there. Let’s just take a look,” Baute says.

Baute narrows his eyes as he lifts up binoculars to check out the construction of the offshore wind farm. It promises to reduce electricity costs by 40 percent. He says that will go a long way for an island whose economy relies on summer tourists, because it’s home to only about a thousand people for the rest of the year.

“You’ve got to work hard to make a living in June, July, August and maybe part of September. You’ve got four months max to break even,” Baute says.

When the turbines aren’t spinning, the island will draw energy from the mainland through an underwater transmission cable that’s part of the wind project. That cable could also bring high-speed internet to the island — another selling point.

Related NPR Stories

New Transmission Line To Carry Wind Energy Not Met With Open Arms
The Future Of Massachusetts’ Offshore Wind Farm Is Uncertain
Still, a vocal minority of island residents are skeptical about the anticipated benefits of the offshore wind farm. Edith Blane doesn’t think it’s worth trading in ocean views.

“So that the beauty, and the calm, and the stillness and the loveliness of a summer night — it’s never going to be the same again,” she says.

With construction underway, Deepwater Wind is on track to build the nation’s first offshore wind farm. It has everything Cape Wind doesn’t — a utility company buying all of its power and bank loans.

The federal government has auctioned off nine leases for more offshore wind farms. That means all eyes are on Rhode Island to see how it works.

Facebook to use all renewable energy in its next data center

July 9th, 2015

Facebook is building a new data center in Fort Worth, Texas, that will be powered entirely by renewable energy.

The company will invest at least US$500 million in the 110-acre site, which is expected to come online late next year.

The new location will be the social-networking giant’s fifth such facility, joining existing data centers in Altoona, Iowa; Prineville, Oregon; Forest City, North Carolina; and Luleå, Sweden. It will feature equipment based on the latest in Facebook’s Open Compute Project data-center hardware designs, it said.

For sustainability, the Fort Worth data center will be cooled using outdoor air rather than energy-intensive air conditioners, thanks to technology it pioneered in its Oregon location. Those designs are now offered through the Open Compute Project.

It will also be powered entirely by renewable energy as a result of a new, 200-megawatt wind project now under construction on a 17,000-acre site in nearby Clay County. Facebook has collaborated on that project with Citigroup Energy, Alterra Power Corporation and Starwood Energy Group; it expects the new source to begin delivering clean energy to the grid by 2016.

Facebook says its infrastructure efficiency efforts have helped it save more than $2 billion over the last three years. The carbon impact of one person’s use of Facebook for an entire year, meanwhile, is now equivalent to that of a medium latte, Facebook said Tuesday.

The company aims to power its data centers with 50 percent renewable energy by the end of 2018, according to Jay Parikh, its vice president of engineering.

“Facebook’s new goal of using 50 percent renewable energy and commitment to powering its Texas data center with clean wind power demonstrates the kind of transparency needed to show that it is making steady progress toward its goal of using 100 percent renewable energy,” David Pomerantz, senior climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace, said in a statement.

In sharp contrast, Pomerantz added, is Amazon Web Services, which “has failed to explain how it will power its newly announced data centers in Ohio and India, despite the company’s commitment to use 100 percent renewable energy.”

Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.