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Engineering Firm to Study Feasibility of New Power Facility

Birdsall Engineering, a firm that is currently under investigation by the state, will conduct the study

The Township Committee has awarded a contract to Birdsall Engineering, a firm that is currently under investigation by the state, for a feasibility study for a new power generation facility to be built in Lacey upon Oyster Creek’s closure in 2019.

State investigators executed a search warrant at the offices of Birdsall Services Group in Wall on Wednesday, May 3, the Star Ledger reported. The exact reason for the investigation is currently unknown.

Mayor Mark Dykoff was unaware of the state’s investigation until after the township awarded the contract, he said. The contract was awarded on Thursday, May 17, with a unanimous vote.

“I haven’t seen the particulars,” Dykoff said of the investigation on Monday. “Some records have been seized. It doesn’t concern me.”

Birdsall will be performing a feasibility study for $22,500. The study will provide an assessment of existing conditions, development constraints and permitting requirements at 798 South Main St., which is currently owned by JCP&L.

The township solicits RFP's (requests for proposals) for special project engineers in the beginning of each year. The engineers are then appointed as needed, Township Administrator Veronica Laureigh said.

“Birdsall was selected for their expertise in the area of renewable energy and their familiarity with the power plant properties,” she said.

The firm submitted a proposal on April 18, Laureigh said.

“We’re trying to make this property as attractive as we can by putting our best foot forward,” Committeeman Dave Most said. “By hiring Birdsall, who has an energy team, and they do a lot of work in energy so they’re very good at it. They have the expertise to handle that kind of work.”

A new generation facility is just a conceptual plan right now, Most said.

“We have to get all the different parties, the stakeholders, involved to make sure we have no big obstacles to overcome,” he said. “I’m sure we’re going to have some obstacles but we’re trying to present a power plant when Oyster Creek closes in 2019.”

The closing of Oyster Creek will create a “serious gap” as far as base load generation and economically, he said.

“That’s why we’re investing in this for the future because this will mean a lot to Lacey Township,” Most said.

Dykoff said the new facility could be a gas-powered plant but the decision will be up to the experts.

“That’s the idea of the feasibility study,” he said. “The engineers will determine what would be the best use or what would be the best fit.”

Last week, Dykoff met with Congressman Jon Runyan along with the mayors of Waretown and Barnegat with regards to the feasibility study and a new plant.

“Waretown and Barnegat do support moving forward in Lacey Township,” Dykoff said. “It helps the surrounding towns.”

The group also discussed supporting manufacturing around any new power plant, he said.

Dykoff asked if the state would reimburse the township for expended funds. The township will pay for the study out of the general engineering line item. The committee has discussed using bond anticipation notes in the future. The state is going to look into reimbursing Lacey through the Economic Development Authority, he said.

“The catch phrase you’ve been hearing for a few years is shovel-ready projects,” Dykoff said. “That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to get this project as far along as possible to entice private investors who want to build something there.”

The township also recently passed for a new power generation facility to replace Oyster Creek.

The freeholders will be voting on a resolution of support this evening.

Dave May 17, 2012 at 11:37 AM
What a great name for an engineering company, "Birdsall Engineering, a firm that is currently under investigation by the State". You don't think somebody has an agenda here, do ya?
Frederick John LaVergne for Congress September 13, 2012 at 08:28 PM
(Utter disgust). Lacey elected officials spent $ 28,000 on a "feasibility study" for a power plant it has no role in the building of beyond permit fees and adherence to NJ Code? That looks an awful lot like a handout to Birdsall, with which to distribute more $ 299.00 contributions to their candidates. I am running in your district for Congress, and I take no campaign contributions and am beholden to no one but the residents of the Third District - least of all a campaign donor who papers both sides of the aisle in exchange for a serious return in frivilous expense such as above on the taxpayers' dime. The plant at Oyster Creek need not close if a cooling tower is constructed. The necessary work to continue it's certification doesn't garner fees and Federal dollars if it's done by the owners of the plant, though. Lacey Twp. will not be contracting to build a generating station. Why are they on the hook for a $ 28,000.00 bill? Because the folks holding the purse strings are in the pocket of the folks who write the $ 299.00 campaign checks...the same folks the AG's office is investigating - albeit slowly, as it affects some of the R's as well as the D's, and we can't let that leak until after the election. Stand for what's right, or settle for what's left. Frederick John LaVergne, "Democratic-Republican" for Congress...NJ District Three.
Frederick John LaVergne for Congress October 02, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Now it says 22,000. . The reason for the push to the new power plants proposed by Christie (in other communities, and running on LNG...a non-renewable resource primarily produced overseas, or eventually here by "FRACKING", which is a huge environmental risk) is because they can shuffle the clean up off onto the State - meaning "us". Set up for a cooling system as we discussed would be a FRACTION of the 800,000,000 figure bandied about. Nuclear works, and is safe, using today's technologies, but so does/is Wind, Solar (including solar "furnace" technology - see Lockheed's "Pilot Plant" off Borton Landing Road? - a test bed - not final engineering). Stop electing career politicians and expecting them to know anything more than their party tells them. (Example = Runyan and the Fisheries Bill (Magnussen) changes.)
Frederick John LaVergne for Congress October 02, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Spoke at length with a Lockheed Martin Engineer, yesterday - they are more than a little familiar with the application of nuclear power...via the United States Navy. This is right up his alley, as an IRAD exec (Internal Research and Development). We both agreed on the lunacy of building a solid to air heat exchanger when an opportunity exists to use CPW (Controlled Pure Water), resin-bed technology, and the heat exchange "wells" we discussed. NDA for now, though, as we may be jointly seeking a patent on the design, if it does not interfere with existing patents. The only drawback, as you and I know from Len Marshall, Candidate in District Four for Congress as a "Democratic-Republican", that, with regard to well placement - "here there be dragons" if you were to dig randomly on the site.
Ditzzeechick July 09, 2013 at 12:21 AM
Have Most, Quinn and Dykoff responded to the fact that they are on the list of people who rec'd donations from Birdsall? How come the Patch isn't pursuing this story?

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