New Jersey recently joined Delaware and Rhode Island as states on the Eastern Seaboard that have agreed to pursue offshore wind farms. According to a recent article in The New York Times, regulators in New Jersey awarded the rights on Oct. 3 for construction of a $1 billion offshore wind farm in the southern part of the state to Garden State Offshore Energy. The rights, which include access to as much as $19 million in state grants, is part of New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan, which calls for 20 percent of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2020.

According to a Public Service Electric & Gas press release, the proposal calls for 96 wind turbines arranged in a rectangular grid 16 to 20 miles off the coast of Cape May and Atlantic counties. At this distance, the wind farm would be barely visible from shore, addressing one of the major concerns of beach communities. The wind farm could begin generating energy in 2012 with the entire project operational in 2013. The turbines are expected to produce as much as 346 megawatts of electricity, enough to power tens of thousands of houses, starting in 2013.

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