Fishermen's Energy, one of three offshore wind developers to win follow-up funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), held a ceremony on Aug. 7 with state and federal officials to sign its DOE grant. The developer was joined in New Jersey by U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, State Sen. Jim Whelan, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, and Jose Zayas, director of the DOE's Wind and Water Power Technologies Office.
In 2012, the DOE awarded grants to seven U.S. offshore wind developers, which then competed for a second round of funding. In May, the agency revealed the three winners at the American Wind Energy Association's WINDPOWER 2014 conference: Fishermen's Energy, Dominion Virginia Power and Principle Power will each receive $46.7 million over the next four years.
However, many in the wind industry were surprised that Fishermen's Energy had won, as the developer's demonstration project, located off the coast of Atlantic City, was rejected by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU). Fishermen's is still pursuing a legal remedy to the BPU's decision.
The developer plans to install five 5 MW direct-drive wind turbines from China-based XEMC New Energy three miles off the coast of Atlantic City. Fishermen's says the DOE funding will supplement the investment by the company's principals to finalize construction planning, fabrication and deployment for the offshore project.
"Projects like Fishermen's Atlantic City Windfarm and the other projects sponsored by the Department of Energy are a first step in the direction of a building a robust, sustainable energy infrastructure," said Chris Wissemann, Fishermen's Energy CEO, at the signing ceremony.
Sen. Menendez said, "Clean, responsible energy development projects like this bring good-paying jobs to our state and help us modernize New Jersey's economy. We must continue looking into innovative energy options – like clean wind and solar projects – that can one day become the next energy giant and can reinvigorate our workforce in the 21st-century global economy."
"This industry has created over 60,000 jobs in Europe," stated Paul Gallagher, COO and general counsel of Fishermen's. "We would like to bring some of those jobs here."
Fishermen's Energy says it has all federal and state permits necessary for project construction, and the company plans to get to begin onshore work in 2015. Offshore construction and commissioning are scheduled for 2016.