Energy consortium Fishermen's Energy of New Jersey LLC has announced that the Cape May, N.J.-based fishing vessel The Capt. Bob has been outfitted with a suite of scientific equipment to study a site for a possible 350 MW offshore wind project off of Atlantic City.
Fishermen's Energy is also taking steps to install a met tower 12 miles offshore. The met tower will be about 300 feet tall to allow data collection at the hub height of future turbines. The Fishermen's met tower will serve as a platform for scientific studies of the atmosphere, the oceanography and biological conditions – not only for wind farm planning, but for university and ocean science programs.
Powered by solar panels and small wind turbines, the data-collection systems continuously measure and transmit information to shore for analysis. Data will be shared among engineers, marine biologists, avian specialists and others interested in the characteristics of the site.
After data collection begins, Fishermen's Energy will make much of this information available to the public through a Web site. The met tower will be built by Fishermen's Energy, with the assistance of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.
In order to begin planning for the met tower, Fishermen's has commenced detailed site studies by contracting with Norwood, N.J.-based Alpine Ocean Seismic Survey to perform a geophysical and archeological survey of the met-tower site.
Over a period of two weeks, Fishermen's and Alpine will measure water depths, as well as collect sonar imagery of the seafloor and sub-bottom information about the geological conditions below the seabed. The team will also use iron-detecting magnetometers to locate any targets of archeological interest, such as shipwrecks or debris dumped offshore over the past century.
Fishermen's has rigged The Capt. Bob, one of the scallop-harvesting vessels managed by Atlantic Capes Fisheries Inc., to bring the geophysical data-collection equipment and personnel out to sea each day of the study, as well as to traverse the study area. Principals of Atlantic Capes Fisheries are also investors in Fishermen's Energy.
In addition to the five members of the Alpine team conducting the surveys, there will be National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration observers onboard to record marine mammal data. If any marine mammals are observed, strict measures would be taken by the vessel and technicians to protect them.