The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) has voted unanimously to open the application window for the state’s second solicitation of offshore wind capacity
The second solicitation seeks to award between 1.2 GW and 2.4 GW of offshore wind energy, potentially tripling the state’s committed capacity from 1.1 GW to 3.5 GW.
Doing so is a significant step towards achieving Governor Phil Murphy’s goal of 7.5 GW of offshore wind energy in New Jersey by 2035. The board also approved the final New Jersey Offshore Wind Strategic Plan.
Governor Murphy said, “Developing New Jersey’s offshore wind industry will bring thousands of good-paying jobs and millions of dollars in economic development to our state to aid our economic recovery from Covid-19.
“This second solicitation not only reinforces our commitment to fighting climate change and achieving 100% clean energy by 2050, but it secures New Jersey’s foothold as a national leader in the growing US offshore wind industry.”
In addition to the solicitation, the board approved the final New Jersey Offshore Wind Strategic Plan, the state’s comprehensive roadmap for achieving 7.5 GW by 2035.
The plan was developed by Ramboll US through an extensive public stakeholder process. It presents recommendations on establishing an offshore wind industry that achieves net economic benefits and gives New Jersey residents the best overall value, while also protecting the environment, commercial and recreational fishing interests and mitigating the impacts of climate change.
The NJBPU will continue to co-ordinate with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to identify and prioritise the research and monitoring needs of the industry. Ongoing habitat surveys as well as fish and wildlife studies will provide data on New Jersey’s diverse and ecologically valuable natural resources, and how new offshore industries can support them.
In opening the second solicitation, the board put forth its second solicitation guidance document, which was developed through a robust public stakeholder process and provides the solicitation’s mechanics and timeline, project application requirements, and evaluation criteria. The application window opens on 10 September 2020 and closes on 10 December 2020. The board anticipates awarding the resulting offshore wind projects in June 2021.
In 2019, the board made an award from its first offshore wind solicitation to Ørsted’s 1.1 GW Ocean Wind project, the largest single-project award in the country.
The project, which will be built 24 km off the coast of Atlantic City and is expected to commence operations in 2024, will generate an estimated US$1.17Bn in economic benefits for New Jersey and create 15,000 jobs over the 20-year life of the project.
In keeping with Governor Murphy’s proposed solicitation schedule, NJBPU will vote in 2022 to open a third solicitation for offshore wind of at least 1.2 GW. Solicitations will open every two years until 2028.