New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed an executive order directing the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to begin the process of developing up to 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030.
Announcing plans to fully implement New Jersey’s Offshore Wind Economic Development Act (OWEDA), Governor Murphy said “Little progress has been made on offshore wind development in New Jersey despite a pledge from the previous administration to facilitate our growth of offshore wind.
“We cannot allow for stagnation in this growing sector of our energy economy and we cannot lose sight of the tremendous opportunity for offshore wind. With this executive order, we begin the process of making New Jersey a leader in offshore wind, a critical step toward achieving our clean energy goals.”
In 2010, Governor Christie signed OWEDA, a piece of legislation allowing state agencies to craft an Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credit (OREC) programme. However, despite OWEDA being signed eight years ago, gaps remain in the regulations for implementing the OREC programme and offshore wind developers have not obtained the necessary approvals from the New Jersey BPU to move forward.
Governor Murphy’s executive order directs the BPU to begin the rulemaking process to fill the gaps in the current regulations governing the OREC programme. The order also directs BPU president Joseph Fiordaliso and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection commissioner Catherine McCabe to work together to establish an Offshore Wind Strategic Plan for New Jersey. The plan will focus on critical components of offshore wind development, including job growth, workforce development, data collection, and appropriate determination of facilities, as well as ensuring that natural resources are protected.
Under the order, the BPU will implement the OREC programme by approving financial plans submitted by offshore wind developers. After the creation of a process to approve such plans, the BPU will issue a solicitation calling for proposed offshore wind projects for the generation of 1.1 GW, which would be the largest solicitation to date in the US. Finally, the order instructs the BPU to engage with neighbouring states on the potential benefits of regional collaboration on offshore wind.
“Our goal is to grow offshore wind in a way that creates jobs and reduces our dependence on fossil fuels,” Governor Murphy said. “New Jersey is committed to growing our clean energy sector, and offshore wind is at the crux of increasing that part of our economy.”