LETTER – Murphy Moves Offshore Wind Forward

Today Governor Murphy Is signing an Executive Order to begin the process of reaching our offshore wind goal of 3500 MW by 2030. The Order also directs the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to put in place a funding mechanism to make it happen. Under Christie, New Jersey had a lack of initiative from our government on implementing the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act (OWEDA) and create a financing mechanism to make wind power a reality. Seven years ago, Christie signed the Act, but the Administration has failed to make offshore wind a reality off our coast. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) even auctioned leases for offshore wind off our coast, but without financing rules the Christie Administration will block these projects from happening. Now we can begin the process of having offshore wind in New Jersey.’

“Today is a great day for New Jersey when it comes to offshore wind. Governor Murphy is moving us forward when it comes to clean energy and green jobs by setting a goal and directing the BPU to act on it. Offshore wind is the most reliable and cost-effective form of offshore power. Wind energy is renewable and clean. It will help us create thousands of jobs in a variety of fields including construction and operation. Offshore wind will provide electricity and jobs to places where it’s needed most. We’ve been working on implementing offshore wind in New Jersey for fifteen years and are happy to see if finally happening,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “Phil Murphy has already done more on clean energy and climate change in two weeks than Christie did in eight years.”

The East Coast, with its large metropolitan areas and dense suburbs is hungry for jobs, investment and energy. Offshore wind can be the engine that drives economic growth in the region for decades to come. Offshore wind not only creates jobs in installing, operating, and maintaining wind turbines but the OWEDA also calls for investment in manufacturing wind turbines.  This would create jobs rebuilding the Paulsboro Port, building factories, manufacturing the steel for the turbines, and assembling and transporting the windmills.  Jobs would also be created building the substations and electric connections to serve the windmills.  With the delays we are losing jobs in the financial sector and venture capitalism for funding and investing in wind.

“Phil Murphy, with his Executive Order, is jumpstarting our wind program to help us reach our goal of 3500 MW offshore wind by 2030. We’ve done studies to find the best places for wind that have the least environmental impacts six years ago.  Off shore wind is the most reliable and cost-effective form of offshore power and New Jersey needs to pursue policies to facilitate the construction of wind turbines off our coast,” said Jeff Tittel.  “We can grow our economy and create jobs while protecting our environment and now the Federal Government’s auctions will push us closer to that possibility.”

In 2016, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) auctions of parcels of federal waters of the coast of New Jersey for commercial wind development. Two parcels off the coast Atlantic City received their final bid. RES Americas Developments Inc. won the 160,480-acre south lease area for $880,715, and U.S. Wind Inc. got the 183,353-acre north lease area for $1,006,240. This development is good news for clean energy as New Jersey could feasibly use offshore wind to power 1.2 million homes.

“For eight years, Governor Christie blocked offshore wind because of his national political ambitions. He vetoed legislation to put in place a funding mechanism for offshore wind in New Jersey. This blocked those companies who won auctions from being able to build their wind turbines on these parcels. The Federal Government is pushing wind energy forward by releasing bids but until now, the state government has been standing in the way,” said Jeff Tittel. “Even though these leases have been given, we can’t make offshore wind a reality unless we have a funding mechanism in place. That’s why it’s so important for Governor Murphy to lead the charge.”

We’ve been waiting eight years for a financing mechanism to make offshore wind in New Jersey a possibility. In 2010, Governor Christie signed the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act (OWEDA), but since then he has repeatedly blocked efforts to ensure we have windturbines off our coast.  Delaying offshore wind projects costs our state jobs, renewable energy, and venture capital investments. Governor Christie and his administration has failed to fully implement the OWEDA, to establish a funding mechanism for offshore wind, to jump start the manufacturing of wind turbines in our state, and to develop windmills off our coast.  As we continue to rebuild our coast in the wake of multiple storm events we need to invest in clean, renewable energy sources that do not contribute to climate change.

“Offshore wind would be a great way to jumpstart our coastal economy and it’s important that Governor Murphy sees this. New Jersey was supposed to be the leading state on offshore wind until Governor Christie blocked it. Wind energy is renewable, clean, and creates thousands creates jobs. Offshore wind off our coast could feasibly power 1.2 million homes with clean energy. New Jersey has enough potential of offshore wind to meet 1/3 of our electrical needs. Other states, such as Rhode Island, have gotten the jobs and economic advantages of wind while NJ has fallen behind,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “It’s time to get offshore wind moving in New Jersey!”