N.J. governor signs offshore wind energy executive order

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Jan. 31 signed an executive order directing the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to fully implement a piece of legislation signed into law by then-Gov. Chris Christie in 2010 and begin the process of moving the state toward a goal of 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy generation by 2030.

In 2010, Christie signed the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act, a piece of legislation allowing state agencies to craft an Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credit (OREC) program. Murphy was sworn in as governor of New Jersey in January 2018.

“But despite OWEDA being signed eight years ago, 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,” Murphy’s office said in a Jan. 31 news release.

The executive order directs the BPU to begin the rulemaking process to fill the gaps in the current regulations governing the OREC program.

It 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.

Murphy’s office said the plan 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.

Under the executive order, the BPU will implement the OREC program by approving financial plans submitted by offshore wind developers.

After the creation of a process to approve such plans, the BPU will issue a solicitation calling for proposed offshore wind projects. That solicitation will call for 1,100 MW of offshore wind.

The executive order also instructs the BPU to engage with neighboring states on the potential benefits of regional collaboration on offshore wind.

N.Y. governor unveiled master plan for 2,400 MW of offshore wind this week

On Jan. 29, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a comprehensive New York State offshore wind master plan that sets forth the state’s strategy for meeting its goal of having 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind energy generation by 2030.

The master plan was prepared by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority in coordination with several entities including two public power utilities -- the Long Island Power Authority and the New York Power Authority.