Another offshore wind project catches air

Another offshore wind project appears to be moving forward.

Garden State Offshore Energy says it will install a floating platform to gather wind data after receiving approval from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.

The proposed 350 megawatt project 20 miles off the New Jersey coast joins the federally approved Cape Wind off Massachusetts and the less advanced Lake Erie project 10 miles from Cleveland as well as others in the race to develop offshore wind power. The climate for offshore wind turbines got a big gust of support recently from the U.S. Department of Energy, which is taking comments on a draft plan for developing the as-yet-untapped energy resource.

Garden State plans to anchor the 100-foot-long buoy affixed with monitoring devices to assess wind and water conditions. The project is expected to cost $1 billion and be completed in 2013.

"Receiving this approval ... is an important milestone for our project," said Rob Gibbs, vice president of Garden State.

The monitoring buoy was constructed by renewable energy consultant Natural Power in Norway and arrived in the United States last week, officials said. The company expects to have the buoy in place off the coast of New Jersey by the end of the year, pending permits from various federal agencies.

Garden State won New Jersey's 2008 solicitation for an offshore developer. The company is a joint venture between Newark, N.J.-based energy company Public Service Enterprise Group and Providence, R.I.-based Deepwater Wind.

Photo: Courtesy Garden State.