B.L. England

Since its closing in May, the B.L. England Generating Station on the shores of Beesleys Point has sat dormant, towering high above the Great Egg Harbor Bay.

The company building an offshore wind farm about 10 miles southeast of Atlantic City recently got approval to hook into the grid at the retired B.L. England electric plant in Upper Township.

But Ørsted is still looking at the possibility of connecting through the Higbee/Ontario substation in Atlantic City instead, to deliver some of the energy created by its planned Ocean Wind project, spokesman Gabriel Martinez said.

He said Tuesday the company should make its decision by the end of 2020.

Ørsted will need two substations onshore and has already selected the decommissioned Oyster Creek nuclear plant in Forked River, Lacey Township, to build the first.

The company got BPU approval to use that site in September.

Ørsted, a Danish energy company, was given the go-ahead by the state Board of Public Utilities in June to develop a 1,100-megawatt wind farm 15 miles off Atlantic City.

The company has said it will generate power for a half-million New Jersey homes and create 3,000 jobs in the state.

“The B.L. England site remains just one of the potential options for interconnection for the project,” Martinez said.

He said the BPU approvals are critical to Ørsted’s ability to move the state’s first offshore wind farm forward.

“We’re hoping it’s Upper Township,” Mayor Richard Palombo has said of Ørsted’s pending decision.

The B.L. England Generating Station on the shores of Beesleys Point closed last May, after its owners decided not to convert it from a coal-and-oil fired plant to one powered by natural gas.

South Jersey Gas was planning to build a new natural gas pipeline along roads from Maurice River Township to service the plant, and had gone through a long and controversial process to get the approvals needed to proceed. Part of the route crossed protected Pinelands forest area.

Lawsuits brought by environmental groups stalled the project. A spokesman for the plant’s owner, R.C. Cape May Holdings, said at the time of the closing the company decided not to spend the money to fight the lawsuits.

Cleanup and remediation are finished, said Russell Arlotta, senior vice president of R.C. Cape May Holdings.

State law requires that the township continue to receive $6 million a year in energy receipts payments it has been getting in exchange for hosting the plant.

The property was assessed at $2.36 million in land and $14.63 million in improvements, for which the company paid the township $313,853.32 in property taxes in 2018.

Contact: 609-272-7219

mpost@pressofac.com

Twitter @MichelleBPost

Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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