Fishermen's Energy, developer of an offshore wind demonstration project off the coast of Atlantic City, has announced that it is considering new turbine suppliers for its 25 MW project. Despite a previous plan to use turbines from China-based XEMC, Fishermen's says it is entering into negotiations with European manufacturers Siemens and Vestas.
Chris Wissemann, CEO of Fishermen's Energy, comments, ‘While XEMC is not out of the project, Fishermen's Energy has agreed we have the obligation to explore turbine options so that we can bring the best prices to New Jersey ratepayers.’
The announcement comes as Fishermen's continues to fight for approval from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU), which rejected the project application in March. Among other issues, including energy prices, the BPU had raised concerns about the developer's decision to choose XEMC. According to the BPU, Fishermen's had switched turbine suppliers several times, with U.S.-based GE and Germany-based Siemens also tapped at one point.
As to why Fishermen's is again looking at European turbine makers, Wissemann says, "There have been technological advances during the course of the last two years that have prompted us to consider our options. Some of the European turbines are now highly tuned for optimal power production in the type of winds that we experience off the coast of New Jersey. Using optimal turbines might allow us to reduce our power price."
In August, after Fishermen's had won a $47 million federal grant, a court ordered the BPU to revisit the project application. The board is scheduled to discuss the proposal again in November.
"To the extent possible, our goal is to get as close as we can to a red, white and blue project that demonstrates American ingenuity. After all, both candidates, Siemens and Vestas, have significant manufacturing here in the U.S.," says Wissemann. "If we determine that these new turbines are in the best interest of our Atlantic City Wind Farm project, we would hope and expect that the BPU will take this, and all the benefits of the Atlantic City Wind Farm, into consideration when they take action on our proposal in November."