Bluewater gets approval to star

Bluewater Wind announced Wednesday that they have received leases by the Minerals Management Service (MMS) to construct meteorological towers in the Atlantic Ocean — an important first step in determining the feasability of offshore wind projects.

Bluewater Wind Founder and President Peter D. Mandelstam joined U.S. Interior Sec. Ken Salazar and New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine for the announcement in Atlantic City, N.J. Bluewater will construct one tower off the shore in Delaware, and will be one of three offshore wind developers to build one off the shore in New Jersey.

Both Corzine and President Barack Obama have called for more than 20 percent of our energy needs to be generated by renewable sources over the next decade.

“Bluewater Wind is happy to help make the national and state goals a reality by having signed the first-in-the-nation contract for a wind farm off the coast of Delaware, and helping to lead the way right here in New Jersey,” said Mandelstam.

Bluewater intends to begin survey work off the Delaware and New Jersey coasts this summer, start land-based construction of the towers this winter and erection and operation of the towers next spring. The towers will be used to measure wind speed and to conduct biological studies. Bluewater said the wind speed study will last about a year, and the biological studies as long as two years.

This is an important step. It shows a real effort by the federal government, and those of New Jersey and Delaware, to become less reliant on foreign energy materials, maintain a grip on future energy costs for consumers and generally make the world a cleaner place. There’s a chance that the studies conducted by these towers show that offshore wind projects just won’t work, but we won’t know that until it’s tried.

We’re in a critical time. The economy has hurt many in our nation, and the situation in the Middle East appears to be creeping more and more to total upheaval. We need to think outside the box and try new things if we want real change. We just hope this works.