N.J. court deals another blow to offshore project 

Source: Colin Sullivan, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 2, 2015

An offshore wind developer vying for the right to build a 25-megawatt wind farm off the coast of New Jersey lost an appeal in state court last week.

Cape May, N.J.-based Fishermen’s Energy failed in its bid to overturn a Board of Public Utilities decision from last year that denies the company the right to start construction.

BPU has maintained the power would be too expensive, despite the pledge of a $47 million federal grant to subsidize the project and statements in the past by Gov. Chris Christie (R) that he wanted the Garden State to be a leader on offshore wind.

The Appellate Division of the Superior Court said it “was not persuaded that the risks and costs of using an unproven technology to produce electricity at prices several times the market price were offset by the asserted benefits of the project.”

The company indicated disappointment in the decision and said it will appeal to the state’s highest court.

“While we will review the opinion carefully over the next few days, it is our intention to bring an Appeal to the New Jersey Supreme Court,” Paul Gallagher, chief operating officer of Fishermen’s Energy, said in a statement.

In Trenton, some prominent Democrats have been attacking the governor on the issue, saying he is distracted by a likely White House run and is pandering to donors on the right such as the Koch brothers, who support fossil fuels (EnergyWire, Feb. 3).

Last year, the board rejected the $188 million pilot on grounds that funding is not guaranteed and it would cost $263 per megawatt-hour once completed, but Fishermen’s has argued that the real price would be closer to $199 per MWh.