Vast American offshore wind market now emerging

New Jersey joins New York and Connecticut as the latest state to announce plans for offshore wind development. 
Vast American offshore wind market now emerging

Governor Phil Murphy has announced that the state will commence construction of 3,500 MW of offshore wind by 2030, enough energy to power over a million homes. Murphy has signed an Executive Order directing the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to fully implement the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act which will begin the process of moving the state forward to achieve its objective.

Murphy wants to make New Jersey “a leader” in offshore wind, “as a critical step towards achieving the state’s clean energy goals”. With this aim in mind, Murphy has directed the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to establish an Offshore Wind Strategic Plan focusing on job growth, workforce development, data collection, and protection of offshore natural resources.

OWEDA was signed off by Governor Christie in 2010. It is a piece of legislation that allows state agencies to craft an Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credit program. However, gaps remain in the regulations for implementing the OREC program and offshore wind developers have not obtained the necessary approvals from the New Jersey BPU to move forward. Governor Murphy’s Executive Order directs the BPU to begin the rulemaking process to fill these gaps in the current regulations.

The Executive Order also directs BPU President Joseph Fiordaliso and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe to work together to establish an Offshore Wind Strategic Plan for New Jersey. This will focus on critical components of offshore wind development, including job growth, workforce development, data collection, and appropriate determination of facilities, as well as ensuring that natural resources are protected.

Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, said, “We are grateful to governors Phil Murphy of New Jersey, Andrew Cuomo of New York, and Dannel Malloy of Connecticut for recognizing the enormous potential for clean energy off their shores, and acting to make it a reality as soon as possible”.

The announcement by New Jersey follows recent commitments by New York and Connecticut. As reported by REM last week, New York state has released a new Offshore Wind Master Plan, aiming to establish offshore wind farms with a total capacity of 2,400 MW by 2030. 

Statoil won the first offshore wind lease in New York in 2016. This will enable the construction of a 600 MW offshore wind farm called Empire Wind, situated 20 miles south of Long Island. Construction could begin in 2023, once the company finds a buyer for the energy generated by the wind farm.

Connecticut has issued a Request for Proposals  for clean energy development, including 220 MW of offshore wind, alongside anaerobic digestion and hydrogen fuel cell projects.

Riccardo Toto, CEO and President of US Wind, said that growing the US market will help to foster a more robust American supply chain and also further drive down costs for consumers. US Wind currently holds offshore wind leases off New Jersey and Maryland.

A new study coauthored by New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and the Clean Energy States Alliance finds that 8 GW of offshore wind from Maryland to Maine will create almost 40,000 full-time U.S. jobs by 2028 while the Department of Energy’s  National Offshore Wind Strategy predicts that 86 GW by 2050 would support 160,000 jobs.

According to Stephanie McClellan, Director of the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind at the University of Delaware, “The visible market for offshore wind in America is now more than half the entire global installed capacity, including all the policy commitments made thus far.”

In January, officials of the Trump Administration indicated their support for offshore wind by issuing draft guidelines for a "design envelope" approach. This enables developers to speed up the pace of the permitting process while making some business decisions later on, such as which turbines to use. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is seeking input from the industry before finalizing these guidelines.

“The Outer Continental Shelf’s offshore wind potential is a tremendous asset and part of the administration’s America-First Energy Plan to make it easier for industry to do business here” said Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke when BOEM announced the guidelines. “And now more than ever, we must use every tool at our disposal to ensure an energy-secure future – one that promotes jobs and is affordable, competitive and safe. Offshore wind will play a big role in this future.”

For additional information:

Governor of New Jersey

American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)

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