NJ Board of Public Utilities creates funding mechanism for offshore wind

Published on December 21, 2018 by Dave Kovaleski

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The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) adopted Tuesday a rule establishing the funding mechanism for the state’s offshore wind program.

The funding mechanism is called the Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Certificate (OREC). The OREC establishes the process by which all offshore wind projects will be funded and how revenues will flow back to ratepayers.

“Today’s actions demonstrate my Administration’s focus on developing a robust offshore wind market and achieving 3,500 MW of offshore wind and 100 percent clean energy by 2050,” NJ Governor Phil Murphy said. “The offshore wind program is a key component of the state’s strategic economic growth plan and a critical strategy to mitigate the impacts of climate change.”

On September 17, the NJBPU opened a solicitation to date for 1,100 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind. Applications will be accepted through Dec. 28.

“We are more committed than ever to fulfilling Governor Murphy’s bold vision of a robust offshore wind program and clean energy future and we look forward to receiving applications for our 1,100 MW solicitation before the end of the year,” NJBPU President Joseph L. Fiordaliso said. “With today’s approval of an offshore wind funding mechanism, we anticipate significant benefits for the state at the best possible cost.”

The board is looking to hire an economic consultant to assist in the evaluation of the applications for the 1,100 MW solicitation. If approved, the NJBPU will be reviewed by the New Jersey Department of the Treasury and, pending approvals, be publicly announced.

In other news, the board denied the petition of Nautilus Offshore Wind, LLC to install a 25 MW offshore wind demonstration project in state waters off the coast of Atlantic City. The project, originally proposed in 2009, does not demonstrate the economic and environmental benefits required under the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act (OWEDA) for the state to commit ratepayer funds.

“Unfortunately, the Nautilus demonstration project did not meet the net economic benefits standard as required by OWEDA, and the Board voted down the application,” Fiordaliso said. “We look forward to reviewing the applications for 1,100 MW of offshore wind and anticipate greater net benefits with larger-scale projects. The award will cement New Jersey’s place as the national epicenter of the offshore wind industry.”