Friday June 19th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉
Main Topic: New Jersey…A State Boldly Launching Towards Wind Energy
Dear Diary. Happy Juneteenth everyone. In light of so much bad news happening in 2020 ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to racial strife, with the climate crisis deepening, it’s time to take a step back and offer a little good news. One state that is making great strides towards renewable energy is New Jersey. The following Washington Post relates that state’s plans for a vast wind farm soon to be built. Here are the details:
The Energy 202: This is New Jersey’s plan to become ‘the Houston of American offshore wind’
By Dino Grandoni June 17
with Paulina Firozi
New Jersey wants to be the capital of the offshore wind energy industry. So it is building a giant port.
Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced on Tuesday that his state will stage construction for the colossal turbines that may one day dot the East Coast horizon as Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states rush to build more renewable energy.
“We’ll be able to be the focal point for the industry in this part of the country,” Murphy said in an interview.
A large cooling tower and other buildings currently on Artificial Island in rural Salem County, N.J. (Mel Evans/AP)
For New Jersey, it is about more than just tackling climate change.
“We have a huge opportunity,” said Tim Sullivan, chief executive of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. “Somebody’s going to get to be the Houston of American offshore wind.”
To help ensure New Jersey plays that role, the state government is planning to turn 30 acres along the Eastern Shore of the Delaware River 20 miles south of Wilmington, Del., into a staging area for assembling the massive turbines. Taller than 800 feet, the turbines will tower higher than the Washington Monument.
State leaders are also hoping to coax factories to the rural area, too, and have set aside 25 acres for potential turbine part manufacturers. They aim to start construction next year and launch operations by 2024. Another 160 acres will be available for future development.
The port is part of the state’s broader plan to get all of its electricity from clean energy by the middle of the century.
New Jersey, already one of the nation’s fastest-warming places, wants to generate 7,500 megawatts from offshore wind by 2035 — enough to power half of New Jersey’s homes.
Murphy also has his sights on supplying Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Virginia with the turbine port, all of which have plans to build offshore wind generation along the Eastern Seaboard’s shallow waters.
“We want a significant piece of the supply chain in New Jersey,” Murphy said. “So we’re literally creating this industry from whole cloth.”
The port, he added, “is a huge step in that direction.”
The South Jersey spot checks off a number of boxes for politicians and engineers.
The site — named Artificial Island after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers created it around 1900 — is five miles from the nearest residential area. It is already home to three nuclear reactors — run by Public Service Enterprise Group, an energy company based in Newark — to provide electricity.
And crucially, there are no bridges between it and the open ocean. That is important because after being assembled, the turbines are often stood upright and moved into place by ship.
New Jersey expects the port to employ 1,500 workers and cost up to $400 million to complete, with taxpayers and companies splitting the bill.
The announcement comes as Murphy is up for reelection next year.
In 2017, he ran on the promise of kickstarting the state’s offshore wind industry after years of foot-dragging by state official under former Republican governor Chris Christie.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D). (Anne-Marie Caruso/The Record via AP, Pool)
The city of New Bedford, Mass., has a 28-acre turbine-assembly area. But it does not have the space New Jersey has to host manufacturing plants, Murphy’s office said. New York, too, is looking to invest up to $200 million to upgrade ports for offshore wind.
The offshore energy industry also welcomed Murphy’s announcement.
“Today’s focus on port infrastructure development shows the Garden State is positioning itself as a first-mover in the race to capture the jobs and investments associated with offshore wind manufacturing, assembly, and staging,” Laura Morton, a senior director at the American Wind Energy Association, said in a statement.
Dan Reicher, who ran the Energy Department’s renewable energy office under Bill Clinton and is not involved in the New Jersey project, added that Murphy’s plan is “a serious shot in the arm at a very difficult moment” as the country confronts both climate change and covid-19.
Over the past decade, wind energy has eaten into the market share of coal and nuclear power.
It now accounts for about 7 percent of all the nation’s electricity.
But virtually all that generation is happening in windswept prairie states, such as Iowa and Kansas, along with Texas.
Europe, by comparison, is far ahead in harnessing fiercer ocean winds, with over 5,000 offshore turbines connected to the grid in a dozen countries. Denmark, England, Germany and Northern Ireland all have ports specialized for wind turbine construction.
The United States, meanwhile, has only five utility-scale offshore turbines — all off Rhode Island.
But that may soon change, with Maryland, Massachusetts and New York also setting major targets. The enormous size of the turbines means that much of the manufacturing will happen domestically.
One issue: Any project in federal waters requires permits from the Trump administration.
In speeches, President Trump is hostile toward wind turbines, accusing them without evidence of causing cancer. But his deputies at the Interior Department have gone ahead with lease sales off three states.
But last year, approval for an 84-turbine project off Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts hit a snag when the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said it required more study on the impact to commercial fishermen.
Jane Cohen, a senior environmental policy adviser for Murphy, said they are in touch with federal officials and “feel confident that these projects will be able to move forward.”
James Manwell, professor and director of the Wind Energy Center at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, said it would make more sense for the U.S. government to coordinate construction between the states — like it did in the shipbuilding boom during World War II.
“If this was a rational world,” he said, “the federal government would take a greater role.”
Here is more climate and weather news from Friday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)
Here are some “ET’s reported on this Friday:
Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid COVID-19 pandemic:
(As usual, the most noteworthy items will be listed first.)
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Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”