ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – New Jersey energy regulators on Friday rejected for the third time a proposed windmill power project off the coast of Atlantic City.
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The state Board of Public Utilities ruled there was no guarantee that Fishermen's Energy would receive all the subsidies it needs to generate electricity at an affordable rate. The board twice before had rejected the proposal to put five windmills about three miles off the coast of Atlantic City.
The U.S. Department of Energy promised up to $47 million for the project in May to the Chinese-backed project. But the board ruled Friday that the project can't advance without guarantees of at least $100 million in federal subsidies.
Fishermen's Energy appealed the most recent rejection of the project, and a court sent the matter back to the utilities board for reconsideration.
"Nothing in the supplemental record includes any financial analysis or other quantitative evidence to demonstrate how the project would be viable without 100 percent of the federal subsidies," the board wrote in its ruling Friday.
The board previously ruled that a Chinese company that would own 70 percent of the project did not demonstrate financial integrity. It ruled Friday that it saw nothing to change its overall disapproval of the plan's financing.
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Environmentalists decried the ruling, saying the country needs non-polluting sources of power.
"Once again the BPU took the side of the Koch Brothers and Tea Party over green jobs and the environment," said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, referring to the conservative politically active businessmen. "As the governor dreams of the oval office, he is creating a nightmare for the people of New Jersey. Instead of looking out for the best interest for New Jersey, Governor Christie would rather please the Koch Brothers and Big oil. The BPU is full of wind with their lame excuse."
Paul Gallagher, the company's chief operating officer, said Fishermen's Energy will resume its appeal of the denial, predicting it will eventually be approved.
"We're disappointed but not surprised," he said. "We feel confident we've met every criteria of the statute, that an independent judiciary will see the case on its merits, and that we will build this project and bring these jobs to New Jersey."
Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC