N.J.’s Murphy Advances Offshore Wind That Stalled Under Christie

Source: By Jim Efstathiou Jr., Bloomberg • Posted: Thursday, February 1, 2018

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy set the state on track to develop 3.5 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, the largest target among East Coast states seeking to add the renewable resource.

Murphy, a Democrat who took office earlier this month, asked regulators to solicit 1.1 gigawatts of offshore wind, according to an executive order signed Wednesday. The order also asks state officials to develop a plan that includes job growth, workforce development, data collection and environmental protections.

In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management auctioned areas of federal waters off the coast for commercial wind development, but progress stalled under former Governor Chris Christie, according to Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club. New York and Massachusetts are targeting 2.4 gigawatts and 1.6 gigawatts of offshore wind respectively.

“The federal government is pushing wind energy forward by releasing bids, but until now, the state government has been standing in the way,” Tittel said in a statement.

Christie in 2010 signed the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act, but later blocked efforts to push developments forward, Tittel said. Wind developers have yet to receive state approvals to advance projects, according to a statement from Murphy’s office.

“Our goal is to grow offshore wind in a way that creates jobs and reduces our dependence on fossil fuels,” Murphy said in the statement.