Feds Overstep: Issue Millions To Chinese Windmill Firm For New Jersey Project
Published May 6th, 2014
Leave it to the federal government to ignore the wishes of the people of the United States. Under President Obama, the United States has shifted its focus on energy independence in the future to renewable energy sources. In theory this is good for the United States. It can reduce dependence on foreign energy supplies, clean up the nation's carbon footprint, and in the long run help lower utility prices for Americans.
However, when the federal government bullishly moves forward against the wishes of local communities and state governments it does nothing but harden the opinion of Americans toward the administration. Just take a recent wind farm proposal in the state of New Jersey.
Wind Farm Proposal
Fisherman's Energy, a Chinese-backed firm, wants to install five off-shore windmills in the Atlantic Ocean along the coast of New Jersey. The windmills would be located off the coast of Atlantic City and the viability of the program was analyzed by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.
After regulators from Public Utilities in New Jersey analyzed the proposal from Fisherman's Energy, it was determined that that company did not demonstrate "financial integrity." In fact, regulators from the state of New Jersey rejected the proposal from Fisherman's Energy not once, but twice. This should have been the end of the story.
As is often the case under the current administration, the federal government stuck its nose into state business and wasted millions of taxpayer dollars in an effort to force a project forward that New Jersey was not interested in pursuing. Hoping that an infusion of cash would persuade the state of New Jersey to change its mind, the Department of Energy granted $47 million to the Chinese-backed firm to move the process along.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $188 million. Public utility regulators in New Jersey refused to move forward with the project because it was deemed too risky for ratepayers in the state of New Jersey, in addition to the concerns regarding the firm's financial integrity.
Chris Wissemann, the CEO of Fisherman's Energy, hopes that the state of New Jersey will reconsider the deal now that the Department of Energy has offered its financial backing. Additionally, he believes that state regulators should trust the vetting process of the DOE and approve the project so it can move forward "expeditiously."
It is nothing new for the federal government to waste millions of taxpayer dollars. This situation is particularly concerning because the government in Washington DC has effectively ignored the concerns of those directly impacted by the deal and tried to force New Jersey to accept a deal it has twice rejected as being against the interests of the people of the Garden State.
Officials from the Board of Public Utilities in New Jersey had no comment regarding the decision of the DOE to try and intercede on behalf of the Chinese-backed firm. Spokesman Greg Reinert would only confirm that Fisherman's Energy was appealing the latest state-issued denial in court.