N.J. regulators clear path for 1,100 MW offshore wind RFP

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities on Sept. 17 approved an order authorizing the largest solicitation to date by a single state for offshore wind projects.

The solicitation for as much as 1,100 megawatts of offshore wind capacity is the first step toward meeting the state’s goal of having 3,500 MW of offshore wind in operation by 2030.

In May, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill, A 3723, that codified the state’s offshore wind target and reinstated the state’s expired program to provide tax credits for offshore wind manufacturing activities.

The bill also established a renewable portfolio standard requiring that 50% of the energy sold in the state come from renewable sources by 2030 and set an energy storage target of 2,000 MW by 2030.

Murphy also signed an executive order directing the development of an updated Energy Master Plan for the state to achieve 100% clean energy by 2050.

The Board of Public Utilities’ order opens the window for offshore wind project applications on Sept. 20. The window closes on Dec. 28, and the board intends to act on the applications by July 1, 2019, in order to provide sufficient time for developers to qualify for federal investment tax credits that expire at the end of next year.

“The opening of the 1,100 MW window, coupled with the Governor’s announcement for the deployment schedule for the full 3,500 MW solicitation, provides unparalleled certainty and incentive for developers and manufacturers to anchor a supply chain right here in New Jersey that can serve the entire eastern seaboard,” Joseph Fiordaliso, president of the Board of Public Utilities, said in a statement.

Murphy recently called on the Board to open two additional 1,200 MW solicitations for offshore wind capacity, one in 2020 and another in 2022.

New York also pursuing offshore wind

New Jersey’s neighboring state New York is also pursuing offshore wind opportunities.

A memorandum of understanding was recently signed by New York power agencies and partners to conduct a study of successful offshore wind transmission models, with a specific focus on large-scale European projects.

The New York Power Authority will lead the study and a number of parties including the Long Island Power Authority will collaborate with NYPA on the initial phase of the research.

Meanwhile, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will launch a solicitation in the fourth quarter for 800 megawatts of offshore wind to jump start a major offshore initiative under an order issued by the New York Public Service Commission in July.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Jan. 29 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 MW of offshore wind energy generation by 2030. The master plan was prepared by NYSERDA in coordination with several entities including two public power utilities – LIPA and NYPA.

In January 2017, LIPA's Board of Trustees voted to approve the first offshore wind farm in New York. The LIPA board approved the South Fork Wind Farm, a 90-MW development that is 30 miles southeast of Montauk.

Massachusetts, Rhode Island

In May, Massachusetts and Rhode Island utilities announced winning bidders for 800-MW and 400-MW, respectively, and in June Connecticut agencies agreed to buy 200 MW of offshore wind.