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Point of pride for New Jersey

New Jersey's first wind project, the 7.5 MW Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm, is not the nation's biggest but it could become the most widely viewed. The turbines, planted on the New Jersey shoreline, will be clearly visible from downtown to some 34 million Atlantic City visitors each year.

"We've reached out to the tourism bureau and the city seems to have taken it on as a tourist attraction and an enhancement," says Richard Dovey of Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA). "We had three of the five turbines up by early December and the reaction I heard from most people I've talked to is that they're awe inspiring."

The project was delayed about a year by environmental concerns. "The New Jersey Audubon Society challenged our permit, but that was settled about a year ago," Dovey says. "The real issue was that the state of New Jersey doesn't have any guidelines specific to wind farms. The concern wasn't so much with us as with any precedent that might be set. But $100,000 was pledged to ongoing bird studies and now everyone seems to be onboard."

The five GE turbines will produce electricity for ACUA's nearby wastewater treatment plant, with any excess delivered to the regional grid. The project was developed, constructed and will be operated by a consortium of partners operating under the name of Jersey-Atlantic Wind. "We weren't striving to be first as much as to level our energy costs while trying to implement green energy," says Dovey. "But now the project is becoming a point of pride."

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