• October 30, 2023
  • Staff
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Energy produced by nearby offshore wind farms will power local homes and businesses.


For decades, tourists heading to the New Jersey beach resorts of Ocean City and Cape May saw the towering smokestack of the BL England Generating Station as they zipped past it on the Garden State Parkway.

The 463-foot-tall (141 metres) stack was a local landmark and even a weather forecaster for some residents – they glanced outside to see which way its smoke way blowing, and how fast, to decide what to wear that day.

But the oil and coal-burning smoke stack is no more. It was toppled by 350 pounds (160kg) of explosives last week

The demolition clears the way for the waterfront site on Great Egg Harbor Bay to enter its next role in providing energy to New Jerseyans: As the connection point for several of the state’s planned offshore wind farms.

At 10 am, as a crowd of over 100 onlookers watched from a nearby pier and boats moored a safe distance away, a loud boom rang out, followed by two smaller ones. The stack quickly tilted away from the water and collapsed in a cloud of dust.

The demolition was carried out company known in the area for razing the former Trump Plaza casino in nearby Atlantic City in 2021.

“Everything went as we had planned: it fell exactly the way we expected it to,” said Chad Parks, a spokesman for the property owner Beesley’s Point Development Group, a New York company that says it specialises in redeveloping “distressed” heavy industrial sites.

Two smaller structures, a gypsum silo and part of the former power plant, will be torn down using ground-based heavy equipment.

Because the power plant was already connected up to the electrical grid, much of the infrastructure to plug offshore wind into the power system already exists in a nearby substation, making it a logical site to bring the offshore wind power onshore.

A cable from the first such wind farm, to be built by energy company Orsted, will come ashore on a beach in Ocean City, run underground along a roadway right-of-way before re-entering the waters of the bay and finally connecting to the grid at the former BL England site.

That route, and the very existence of the project itself, has generated significant opposition from residents in Ocean City and other Jersey Shore communities, who are fighting them in court and in the court of public opinion.

The power plant opened in 1961. A cooling tower there was demolished in September 2022 and boilers at the site were demolished in April.

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