Following on an executive order issued by Gov. Phil Murphy in late January, New Jersey regulators this week approved an order to begin moving the state toward an initial solicitation of 1.1 GW of offshore wind energy.
In a Feb. 28 order, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) directed its staff to prepare the solicitation and engage offshore wind developers and stakeholders in defining minimum requirements for the solicitation.
Murphy’s executive order directed the BPU to fully implement the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act (OWEDA) and begin the process of implementing a plan for 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy generation by 2030. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed OWEDA in 2010, which called for the BPU to develop an offshore renewable energy certificate (OREC) program, but that original directive never came to fruition.
Murphy won the governor’s seat last November and has moved quickly to act on a campaign pledge to advance the state’s offshore wind industry.
“The benefits of offshore wind extend far beyond the environment,” BPU President Joseph Fiordaliso said in a statement. “Offshore wind is an increasingly cost-effective form of renewable energy that will stabilize energy prices, bring jobs to New Jersey, and ultimately lower the cost of electricity for New Jersey ratepayers.”
This week’s BPU order directs staff to establish an interagency Offshore Wind Task Force with the state Department of Environmental Protection and other applicable state agencies to develop a Strategic Plan for offshore wind. BPU staff also will initiate a rulemaking process to establish the funding mechanism for ORECs and recommend plans for a Regional Offshore Wind Energy Roundtable to initiate discussions with other states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region to explore the potential benefits of regional offshore wind collaboration.
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