May 21, 2022

Biden admin. approves New York’s first offshore wind farm


A rendering of the South Fork Wind substation, which will be built by Kiewit Offshore Services. South Fork Wind is the second commercial-scale offshore wind project to receive federal approval in the U.S. (Courtesy: Ørsted)

New York's first offshore wind project could begin construction as soon as January of next year, according to its developers, after receiving approval from the Biden administration last week.

South Fork Wind, a 132-megawatt project to be located 19 miles southeast of Block Island, Rhode Island, has received its Record of Decision from the U.S. Dept. of Interior. Ørsted and Eversource are partnering on the project, which is the second commercial-scale offshore wind project to receive federal approval in the U.S.

"Today is a red-letter day for the future of offshore wind,” said Fred Zalcman, director of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance. “Today's federal approval of New York's first utility-scale offshore wind farm is the culmination of several years of planning and community engagement and will demonstrate the massive economic, environmental, and social benefits of this renewable resource for all New Yorkers.”

Once completed, South Fork Wind will produce enough clean energy to power 70,000 homes in New York. Operations are expected to begin at the end of 2023, the companies said.

The announcement is a positive step for the Biden administration's goal of deploying 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030. Last week, Vineyard Wind 1, the first commercial-scale offshore wind project in the U.S., celebrated its groundbreaking in Massachusetts. That project will be able to generate enough clean energy to power more than 400,000 homes with clean energy.

“We have no time to waste in cultivating and investing in a clean energy economy that can sustain us for generations,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “Just one year ago, there were no large-scale offshore wind projects approved in the federal waters of the United States. Today there are two, with several more on the horizon. This is one of many actions we are taking in pursuit of the President’s goal to open the doors of economic opportunity to more Americans.”

Vineyard Wind 1, the first commercial-scale offshore wind project in the U.S., celebrated its groundbreaking in Barnstable, Massachusetts on Thursday. (Courtesy: Vineyard Wind US)

South Fork Wind is approved to install 12 or fewer wind turbines offshore Rhode Island. The project will utilize Siemens-Gamesa's 11-megawatt turbines. Kiewit Offshore Services will design and build the project's substation.

In January, the project expects to receive its Construction and Operation Plan approval for the one-nautical mile turbine layout, construction methodology, fishing industry compensation plan, and mitigation measures to protect species.

“Today’s announcement is a watershed moment for New York State,” said NYSERDA CEO Doreen M. Harris. “We are encouraged to see the federal government’s commitment to ensuring critical projects like South Fork Wind move ahead swiftly to tackle the existential threat of climate change while providing good paying jobs when our economy needs it most. New York is cementing itself as the nation’s leader in offshore wind, delivering cost-effective and reliable renewable energy as part of its goals to deliver a more sustainable future for New Yorkers.”

Denmark-based Ørsted is a global leader in onshore and offshore wind development and currently operates the Block Island Wind Farm, the first offshore wind farm in the U.S., and the two-turbine Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind pilot project.

A rendering of the South Fork Wind substation, which will be built by Kiewit Offshore Services. South Fork Wind is the second commercial-scale offshore wind project to receive federal approval in the U.S. (Courtesy: Ørsted)

Mar 21, 2020

How to Save Energy When You're Stuck at Home

The odds are good that you’re spending more time at home right now than ever before. Maybe you’re working from home. Your partner is working from home. Your kids aren’t in school. Your pets are on top of you. And that’s a lot to handle on its own.

But one of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic that most of us haven’t seen yet is the impact on our utility bills. While it may be a minor concern amid the global health crisis, some people may be concerned about their income during this time at home. And a surprisingly high utility bill is the last thing you need on your mind when you’re already stressed about our overall situation.

We won’t tell you to turn off the TV or sit around in the dark, mostly because TVs are pretty energy efficient these days and you probably already changed your lightbulbs to a longer-lasting option. Here are a few energy saving strategies you may not have considered yet.

Avoid peak rate times

Log into your utility account and look for peak rates or “time of use” rates, advised Brett Joerger, CEO of Westhaven Solar in California. Your rates can double during those peak times, so choosing the right time of day to, say, do a load of laundry could impact how much that spin cycle costs you at the end of the month.

Knowing your peak hours can help you then optimize the rest of your home. Joerger recommended setting your programmable thermostat to keep the house a little warmer or cooler during those off-peak times when you’re home, then being more frugal with the thermostat during peak periods.

That goes for your kitchen, too. If you want to bake a cake, maybe you can do it at 5 p.m. instead of at noon, or vice-versa.

Boost your appliances

Since you’re home, why not make sure your appliances and energy systems are running in tip-top shape? Joerger said anything with a motor is going to use up the most energy—think freezers, HVAC units, and pool pumps—so you’ll want to optimize those energy drains as much as possible.

Vacuum under and behind your fridge to keep the condenser coils clean and working well. These coils disperse heat, but if they get gunked up with dust and pet hair, the fridge has to work harder to keep your food cold.

Change your air filter if you have a spare hanging around and you’re past-due for a switch (which you probably are). Keeping your filters fresh in a central air system can reduce your energy consumption by 5%-15%, according to the Department of Energy.

Turn down the heat

Have more dishes to do? Finally attacking that pile of laundry?

“One of the biggest uses of energy that people generally don’t realize is the hot water heater,” said Peter Callan, president of energy efficiency company Lantern Energy. “So make sure you run dishwasher and washing machine only when full.”

Another quick DIY task you can complete is to turn down the temperature on your hot water heater. The Department of Energy says it’s a two-hour project, but in my experience, it’s more of a quick half-hour. Decreasing the temperature by 10-20 degrees (don’t go below 120ºF) can reduce your energy costs by up to about 20% annually.

Check your fans

If you have ceiling fans, now is a great time to wipe down those blades to make sure you’re not spinning around built-up dust all day. And while you’re up there, make sure your fans are set to the right direction for the season. If you’re still running the heat where you live, make sure your fan turns clockwise to push warm air down. If it’s warm, you want those blades to go counter-clockwise.

Fans don’t cost a lot to run and help by making you feel cooler (or warmer), so you can then save money by adjusting your thermostat a few degrees.

Turn off the faucet

You’d be amazed at the amount of people who still leave the water running while they brush their teeth for a very thorough two minutes. But this is no time for shame. If you’re one of those people, consider this: Turning off the faucet while you brush could save you about $65 on your annual water bill.

I’ll leave the handwashing tips to the experts right now, but the other place you might be able to save some water is in the shower. Maybe you usually shower at your gym every morning before work, which means you’re lathering up at home more. I’m a fan of a long, luxurious shower myself, but while you’re sitting at home you might be wondering if you should cut back.

If you so dare, you could turn off the water while you’re soaping up, then turn it back on to rinse. Or choose a day of the week to a timer and challenge the kids (or yourself) to see who can take the shortest shower. If these sound like nightmare scenarios, consider skipping a shower every few days. If you’re not as active as you usually would be, you’re probably not that gross.


Jul 14, 2019

Why Everyone Wants to Go Back to the Moon

Something of a new lunar race is underway, but the motivations differ from what put men on its surface 50 years ago.Everyone, it seems, wants to go the moon now.

In January, Chang’e-4, a Chinese robotic spacecraft including a small rover, became the first ever to land on the far side of the moon. India is aiming to launch Chandrayaan-2 this month, its first attempt to reach the lunar surface. Even a small Israeli nonprofit, SpaceIL, tried to send a small robotic lander there this year, but it crashed.

In the coming decades, boots worn by visitors from these and other nations could add their prints to the lunar dust. China is taking a slow and steady approach, and foresees its astronauts’ first arrival about a quarter of a century in the future. The European Space Agency has put out a concept of an international “moon village” envisioned for sometime around 2050. Russia has also described plans for sending astronauts to the moon by 2030, at last, although many doubt it can afford the cost.

In the United States, which sent 24 astronauts toward the moon from 1968 to 1972, priorities shift with the whims of Congress and presidents. But NASA in February was suddenly pushed to pick up its pace when Vice President Mike Pence announced the goal of putting Americans on the moon again by 2024, four years ahead of the previous schedule.

“NASA is highly motivated,” Jim Bridenstine, the former Oklahoma congressman and Navy pilot picked by President Trump to be the agency’s administrator, said in an interview. “We now have a very clear direction.”

For India, reaching the moon would highlight its technological advances. China would establish itself as a world power off planet. For the United States and NASA, the moon is now an obvious stop along the way to Mars.

The fascination with Earth’s celestial companion is not limited to nation-states. A bevy of companies has lined up in hopes of winning NASA contracts to deliver experiments and instruments to the moon. Blue Origin, the rocket company started by Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon, is developing a large lander that it hopes to sell to NASA for taking cargo — and astronauts — to the moon’s surface.

For three decades after the end of the Apollo program, few thought much about the moon. The United States had beaten the Soviet Union in the moon race. After Apollo 17, the last visit by NASA astronauts in 1972, the Soviets sent a few more robotic spacecraft to the moon, but they soon also lost interest in further exploration there.

NASA in those years turned its attention to building space shuttles and then the International Space Station. Its robotic explorers headed farther out, exploring Mars more intensely, as well as the asteroid belt and the solar system’s outer worlds.

Mr. Bridenstine says one of the main reasons for accelerating a return to the moon now is to reduce the chances of politicians changing their minds again. A 2024 landing would occur near the end of the second term of Mr. Trump’s presidency, if he wins re-election next year.

“I think it’s sad that we have not been back to the moon since 1972,” Mr. Bridenstine said. “There have been efforts in the past. They’ve never materialized.”

NASA has named the new moon program Artemis, after Apollo’s sister in Greek mythology. Its first mission would be a crewless test of the Space Launch System, a big rocket already in development. It is scheduled for late 2020, although many expect the launch to slip to 2021.

The second flight — the first with astronauts aboard — would zip around the moon, but not land, in 2022.

On the third flight, in 2024, astronauts would first travel to Gateway, an outpost in orbit around the moon, and from there take another spacecraft to the lunar surface, somewhere near its South Pole.

Mr. Bridenstine, echoed by other NASA officials, has repeatedly said that Artemis would take the “first woman and the next man” to the moon.


Nov 15, 2018

America is now the world's largest oil producer

Move over Russia and Saudi Arabia. America has reclaimed its throne atop the oil world.

For the first time since 1973, the United States is the world's largest producer of crude oil, according to preliminary estimates published on Wednesday by the Energy Department.

The feat demonstrates how the US shale oil boom has reshaped the global energy landscape. American oil output has more than doubled over the past decade.

"It's an historic milestone and a reminder: Never bet against the US oil industry," said Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group, a consulting firm.

Texas is the epicenter of the shale boom. Production in the Permian Basin of West Texas has grown so much that in February the United States vaulted above Saudi Arabia for the first time in more than two decades, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

US output kept climbing in June and August, reaching nearly 11 million barrels per day. That nudged the United States ahead of Russia for the first time since February 1999, the EIA estimates.

The United States isn't expected to cede its crown any time soon. The EIA expects US oil production to stay ahead of Russia and Saudi Arabia through 2019.

'Changed the game'

The achievement underscores the profound impact of rapid technological advances in drilling. Fracking unlocked vast sums of oil and natural gas that had been trapped underground. Drilling costs declined dramatically.

"That changed the game for the US. It meant we could be resilient and competitive," said Ben Cook, portfolio manager at BP Capital Fund Advisors, an energy investment management firm.

That resilience was required after oil prices crashed beginning in late 2014. OPEC launched a price war to regain market share lost to the United States and other oil producers. Falling prices knocked dozens of US oil companies out of business and caused widespread job losses.

US oil production declined -- but not as dramatically as feared. And when prices began to rebound in 2016, US shale companies were able to quickly ramp up output. Their expenses were lower -- and technology had improved.

Another important change: America now has oil customers around the world. In late 2015, Congress lifted the 40-year ban on exporting crude oil. The United States now ships oil to South America, Europe and China.

Texas is an oil superpower

Major oil producers including BP (BP) and ExxonMobil (XOM) have shelled out billions of dollars in recent years to get a piece of the action in the Permian Basin.

The Lone Star state is on track to produce more oil than either Iran or Iraq. That would make Texas No. 3 in the world if it were a country. And the state's biggest port district recently exported more crude oil than it imported.

"It's all about technological improvements, supported by ample capital to invest, and the ingenuity of American oil drillers," said McNally, a former energy official under President George W. Bush.

Still reliant on foreign oil

Now, Texas is trying to manage the boom. There's been such a gold rush mentality in the Permian Basin that the region is quickly running out of pipelines, workers and supplies.

If anything, the Permian has been a victim of its own success. Production is expected to keep rising -- but not by as much as previously thought.

Concerns about the Permian led the EIA to downgrade its growth forecast for 2019 US oil production to 11.5 million barrels per day. For context, that still represents strong growth -- and would still top expected output from Russia and Saudi Arabia. The United States produced 9.4 million barrels per day in 2017.

The shale boom has important security implications. Today, the United States is less reliant on foreign oil, including from the turbulent Middle East.

However, it's still a global oil market and strategy shifts by OPEC and Saudi Arabia continue to have significant influence over prices.

And the United States can't meet its voracious appetite for oil by looking inward only. US oil refineries, which were mostly built decades ago, still require heavy doses of foreign oil.

CNNMoney (New York)First published September 12, 2018: 2:29 PM ET


The United States is now the largest global crude oil producer

The United States likely surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest crude oil producer earlier this year, based on preliminary estimates in EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO). In February, U.S. crude oil production exceeded that of Saudi Arabia for the first time in more than two decades. In June and August, the United States surpassed Russia in crude oil production for the first time since February 1999.

Although EIA does not publish crude oil production forecasts for Russia and Saudi Arabia in STEO, EIA expects that U.S. crude oil production will continue to exceed Russian and Saudi Arabian crude oil production for the remaining months of 2018 and through 2019.

U.S. crude oil production, particularly from light sweet crude oil grades, has rapidly increased since 2011. Much of the recent growth has occurred in areas such as the Permian region in western Texas and eastern New Mexico, the Federal Offshore Gulf of Mexico, and the Bakken region in North Dakota and Montana.

The oil price decline in mid-2014 resulted in U.S. producers reducing their costs and temporarily scaling back crude oil production. However, after crude oil prices increased in early 2016, investment and production began increasing later that year. By comparison, Russia and Saudi Arabia have maintained relatively steady crude oil production growth in recent years.

Saudi Arabia's crude oil and other liquids production data are EIA internal estimates. Russian data mainly come from the Russian Ministry of Oil, which publishes crude oil and condensate numbers. Other sources used to inform these estimates include data from major producing companies, international organizations (such as the International Energy Agency), and industry publications, among others.

Principal contributors: Candace Dunn, Tim Hess


Oct 20, 2018

Wind power in New Jersey

Wind power in New Jersey is in the early stages of development. There are various projects underway to create windfarms along coastal areas in the state on land, on piers, and on the continental shelf of the Atlantic Ocean off the southern Jersey Shore. Legislation has been enacted to support the industry through economic incentives and to permit wind turbines on existing piers. Several proposals have been made to expand the use of wind-generated power which may lead to the nation's first offshore wind power pilot project. In October 2010, North American Offshore Wind Conference was held in Atlantic City, site of the US's first on-shore coastal facility. New Jersey is part of the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium. As of 2013, 9MW were produced by wind power.[1]

United States installed wind power capacity by state 1999–2014
In May 2014, the federal Department of Energy awarded a grant for up to $47 million for the pilot of the Atlantic City Windfarm, calling the project "innovative". New Jersey regulators had earlier rejected the same project in March.[2] In July 2014, the federal Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Management proposed sale of leases for nearly 344,000 acres (139,000 ha) covering an area about 7 miles off the coast of Atlantic City.
Despite incentives to spur the industry in the state, development has lagged.[3] In 2018, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order to revive subsidies for wind power in the state.[4] In September 2018, the state began to solicit bids for projects off-shore.[5][6]

Existing facilities[edit]

Jersey-Atlantic is the first coastal wind farm in the USA


Jersey Atlantic Wind Farm[edit]

Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm, opened in 2005 in Atlantic City, is the first coastal wind farm in the United States.[7] In October 2010, North American Offshore Wind Conference was held in the city and included tours of the facility and potential sites for further development.[8] In February 2011, the state passed legislation permitting the construction of wind turbines along pre-existing piers, such as the Steel Pier.[9][10]

Bayonne Municipal Utilities Authority[edit]

The Bayonne Municipal Utilities Authority operates a singular wind turbine.[11][12][13][14][15][16] Construction of a single turbine tower was completed in January 2012.[17] It is the first wind turbine manufactured by Leitwind to be installed in the USA[18] and the first in the Tri-State (NY-NJ-CT) metropolitan area.[19] The turbine came on line in June 2012, and is used to power a sewage pumping station. [20]

Government interest and incentives[edit]

State grants for meteorological stations[edit]

In 2009, the New Jersey's Board of Public Utilities awarded grants of up to $4 million to Garden State Offshore Energy, Fisherman's Energy and Bluewater Wind to undertake research of offshore meteorological conditions.[21] The grant to Garden State Offshore Energy is being used to install an offshore meteorological buoy to measure wind speeds and weather and wave conditions off the coast. Garden State Offshore Energy is a joint venture between Deepwater Wind and PSEG Renewable Generation.[22]

Offshore Wind Economic Development Act[edit]

On August 19, 2010, Governor Christie signed the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act, which provides for financial incentives and tax credits to support offshore wind projects.[23][24][25]
As of February 2013, the Board of Public Utilities, which is charged with implementing key aspects of the legislation, had not yet finalized all of the regulations necessary to carry out the policy.[26]

BOEM Nominations of Interest[edit]

On April 20, 2011, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issued "The New Jersey Call for Information and Nominations – Commercial Leasing for Wind Power on the Outer Continental Shelf Offshore New Jersey". The BOEM is responsible for leasing areas of the Outer Continental Shelf which are under federal jurisdiction for energy resource utilization.[27] This Call for information and nominations requested public input regarding the development of offshore wind projects in a designated Wind Energy Area (WEA) located offshore New Jersey. The Call also sought nominations from project developers of areas within the WEA that should be put up for auction for project development. The BOEM received eleven such nominations, and the entire WEA was proposed for development by one or more developers.[28]

Offshore leases in federal waters[edit]

In July 2014, the federal Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Management proposed sale of leases for nearly 344,000 acres (139,000 ha) covering an area about 7.000 nautical miles (12,964 m) off the coast of Atlantic City.[29] The area would be divided into two leases, known as the North Area and the South Area.[30] Sales of leases began in November 2015;[31] the leases were allotted to RES America Developments and US Wind.[32] Ørsted also has a lease.


The Atlantic Wind Connection will be built off the Jersey Shore.
New Jersey has the potential to generate 373 GWh/year from 132 MW of 80 m high wind turbines or 997 GWh/year from 349 MW of 100 m high wind turbines located onshore as well as 430,000 GWh/year from 102,000 MW of offshore wind turbines.[33] New Jersey used 76,759 GWh in 2011.[34]
While less susceptible than areas in southern states, hurricanes could be a threat to wind turbines in the state.[35][36]

Proposed projects[edit]

Federal map of leasing areas off coast of Atlantic City

Fisherman's Energy Atlantic City Windfarm[edit]

In May 2011, Cape May-based Fisherman's Energy submitted an application to the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) under the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act for a demonstration project to build six wind turbines 2.5 miles (4.0 km) off the coast at Atlantic City called Fisherman's Atlantic City Windfarm.[37] The wind farm was projected to come on line late 2012, but in August of that year the (BPU) announced they would delay until the end of the year acting on the application. A decision is expected on April 30, 2013.[38][39][40][41][42] A controversial report released in 2012 questions the economic benefits for the state.[43] In March 2014, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities rejected a proposal to build the off-shore wind farm, citing financial irregularities and viability.[44][45] In May 2014, the federal Department of Energy awarded a grant for up to $47 million calling the project "innovative".[2][46] The revised plan is to install five, 5-megawatt turbines three miles off Atlantic City. The project will test a twisted jack foundation, which is a new type of offshore platform that is cheaper to make and install than traditional platforms.[47] In August 2014, the Superior Court of New Jersey’s Appellate Division order the BPU to reconsider its decision in light of the grant and the financial plan presented by Frisherman's.[48] Ground breaking for the onshore portion of the project took place in December 2014.[49][50] It is one of the few offshore wind farms in the United States to proceed to that stage. After years of wrangling with the BPU, Fisherman's Energy reconfigured its plans in attempt to proceed with the project.[51] The Department of Energy rescinded its grant to the Windfarm in 2017, citing the lack of progress finding a purchaser for the power.[52] Fischer's Energy laid off all of its staff and suspended its operations.

Atlantic Wind Connection[edit]

Atlantic Wind Connection is a planned electrical transmission backbone to be built off the Atlantic Coast of the United States to serve off-shore wind farmsGoogle and Good Energies, an investment firm, are the major investors in the $5 billion project proposed by Trans-Elect Development Company which would deliver power ashore at two points, one in South Jersey and one in northeastern New Jersey as well as Delaware and southern Virginia.[53] The proposed system has been praised by environmentalists and federal regulators, but as a first of its kind project, poses significant risks of encountering unexpected problems.[54] On January 17, 2013 Atlantic Wind Connection announced it had selected Bechtel as the EPC contractor and Alstom as technical advisor for the first phase of the development.[55]

Port Jersey[edit]

In 2010 the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced its intention to build five wind turbines at Port Jersey on the Upper New York Bay within three years.[56][57] The windfarm is part of a larger plan to expand the container port on the manmade peninsula to accommodate post-panamax ships.[58][59] In May 2012, Global Container Terminals announced detailed plan of the port extension. It included the installation of 9 wind turbines in order to meet a zero emissions footprint of their crane operation during periods of wind power generation.[60]

Raritan Bayshore[edit]

A single turbine as part of the Raritan Bayshore Regional Sewarage Authority facility in Union Beach has been mired in litigation and faces other zoning regulatory hurdles and community opposition.,[61] but was permitted by the New Jersey Supreme Court.[62]

Port of Paulsboro[edit]

The Port of Paulsboro is located on the Delaware River and Mantua Creek in and around Paulsboro approximately 78 miles (126 km) from the Atlantic Ocean. Traditionally one of the nation's busiest for marine transfer operations of petroleum products, the port is being redeveloped as an adaptable omniport able to handle a diversity of bulkbreak bulk cargo and shipping containers. Studies completed in 2012[63][64] concluded that the port is well suited to become a center for the manufacture, assembly, and transport of wind turbines and platforms the development of Atlantic Wind Connection[65][66][67][68][69][70]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]