The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities had recently convened New Jersey business leaders to advance the state’s offshore wind strategy with an in-state supply chain. As a major component of Governor Murphy’s clean energy initiative, offshore wind will help New Jersey reach 100 percent clean energy by 2050.
Emphasizing the economic and environmental benefits of offshore wind, New Jersey had opened a solicitation back in September for 1,100 megawatts of offshore wind, the nation’s largest single-state solicitation of offshore wind to date. The Governor had also called on the NJBPU to open additional solicitations for 1,200 MW in 2020 and 2022 and received bids from three developers. According to sources, the solicitation was the largest single state solicitation to date.
“The Board is extremely excited to receive these solicitations. New Jersey has regained its place as a leader when it comes to clean, renewable energy and offshore wind power is a major component in taking us there,” stated NJBPU President Joseph L. Fiordaliso. “We are one giant step closer to fulfilling Governor Phil Murphy’s vision of 3,500 MW of offshore wind power by 2030.”
At a special board meeting in December, the Board selected an economic consultant to assist in the evaluation of the applications and had sent the award recommendation to the New Jersey Department of the Treasury. Upon review and approval, the winning bidder and contract would be announced publicly. Board staff, with the support of the consultant, would review and evaluate the applications before providing a recommendation to the Board.
The review would consider the requirement under the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act (OWEDA) that applicants must demonstrate “positive net-economic and environmental benefits for the State.” Guidance documents were provided to help developers calculate net economic benefits of proposed projects. A Board decision is anticipated in spring of 2019.
On January 31, 2018, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 8 directing the NJBPU to fully implement OWEDA and begin the process of moving the state toward its 2030 goal of 3,500 MW of offshore wind energy generation after an eight-year delay. On February 28, 2018, the Board adopted an Order directing staff to take actions to implement Executive Order No. 8, including preparing for the solicitation of 1,100 MW of offshore wind, as well as initiate a rulemaking proceeding for the funding mechanism.
In October, representatives from the NJBPU reviewed the solicitation and the required submission procedures for parties interested in submitting proposals for offshore wind projects. Prospective applicants have had additional opportunities since to ask questions regarding the application process and information requested in the guidance documents provided by the NJBPU.
Governor Murphy has asked the Board to consider two additional solicitations of 1,200 MWs in 2020 and 2022. Based upon average residential household power usage, the Board estimates that 1,100 MW of offshore wind will serve between 350,000 and 600,000 households annually. It is estimated that the 3,500 combined MW will supply power for 1.1 million to 2 million households annually.
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