NJ regulators to accelerate offshore wind development, launch solicitation process for 1.1 GW

Source: By Robert Walton, Utility Dive • Posted: Monday, March 5, 2018

Dive Brief:

  • Following New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) call for the state to pick up the pace on offshore wind development, utility regulators passed an order, effective Feb. 28, beginning the process of soliciting 1,100 MW of offshore capacity.
  • The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has directed agency staff to establish an interagency Offshore Wind Task Force, in order to develop a strategic plan implementing the governor’s directive. Murphy’s executive order calls for full implementation of the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act.
  • New Jersey has a goal of developing 3,500 MW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, while neighboring New York is targeting 2,400 MW of capacity by 2030.

Dive Insight:

The United States had no offshore wind at all until recently, but states and developers have taken note and are moving quickly. Governors from Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, are collectively aiming for 7.5 GW of a resource that currently sits at 30 MW.

But the New Jersey order may be a roadmap for how the region can move quickly and in a coordinated way. The order directs staff to make plans for a Regional Offshore Wind Energy Roundtable “to initiate discussions with other states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region.” Other stakeholders, such as PJM Independent, would be brought to the table.

Staff will also initiate the rulemaking process to establish the funding mechanism for Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Certificates (ORECs). Stakeholders will discuss the minimum requirements of the OREC funding mechanism in compliance with the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act and BPU rules. The certificates are used to finance offshore wind projects that benefit New Jersey.

But the largest point of the order is the solicitation. The BPU directed staff to prepare a solicitation for the initial 1,100 MW of offshore capacity, and to work with offshore wind developers and stakeholders on the requirements.

Staff will also work with the New Jersey Treasury Department, the BPU explained in its statement, “to ensure that necessary resources and expertise are available to help implement the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act, including the establishment of an OREC program through the approval of OREC pricing plans.”