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Fishermen's Energy of New Jersey LLC (FERN), a consortium formed by New Jersey commercial fishing companies and a community-based offshore wind developer, has submitted a proposal to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to build a two-phase, offshore wind energy facility.

Filed in response to the BPU's solicitation for proposals to develop offshore wind energy facilities, the proposal by FERN calls for construction of a total of 350 MW of electricity from 74 wind turbines.

"With fishermen as principal developers, a key opposition to offshore wind is removed," says Daniel Cohen, president of FERN. "The U.S. fishing industry has historically opposed offshore wind development due to negative impacts on the fishing industry. While we remain very concerned about siting, construction and cumulative effects of offshore wind farms, we believe that in our hands and with the focus that we as fishermen will place on these issues, we can solve them."

According to Cohen, FERN's plan calls for Phase I construction of an array of eight turbines, three miles off Atlantic City, providing total capacity of up to 20 MW. The project is expected to go online at the end of 2010 or early 2011. Phase II, according to FERN, will be about six miles offshore and is expected to produce up to 330 MW.

Cohen notes that FERN has put together a team to design, engineer, finance and build its wind farm in response to the BPU solicitation. In addition to mobilizing New Jersey's fishing industry, FERN plans to work closely and cooperatively with the tourism and hospitality industries, which it regards as key potential end-user customers for its power.

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