It’s the end of an era, and the start of a new chapter.
New Jersey opened the largest single solicitation for offshore wind development in the nation’s history, when the state Board of Public Utilities approved an order Monday morning.
The state is now soliciting proposals to build an offshore wind farm capable of generating 1,100 megawatts of electricity in the designated lease areas off the Jersey Shore.
“In the span of just nine months, New Jersey has vaulted to the front of the pack in establishing this cutting-edge industry,” Murphy said. “We campaigned on rebuilding New Jersey’s reputation as a clean energy leader and that involves setting an aggressive timetable on offshore wind. Thanks to the Board, today we took another enormous step toward realizing that goal with the largest single-state solicitation of offshore wind in the country.”
Murphy has a goal of getting 50 percent of New Jersey’s energy from renewable sources by 2030, and reaching 100 percent by 2050. Offshore wind is a major part of Murphy’s plan to reach this goal: The Governor wants to have the Garden State producing 3,500 megawatts of electricity from offshore wind farms by 2030.
That’s a lot of electricity. According to the NJBPU, 1,000 megawatts can power roughly 500,000 homes.
Monday’s action by the NJBPU comes just days after Murphy called for two additional solicitations to be made in coming years: One for a 1,100 megawatt facility in 2020 and the other for a 1,200 megawatt facility in 2022. The three solicitations combine to nearly reach the Governor’s 3,500 megawatt goal for offshore wind.
“The opening of the 1,100 megawatt 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,” NJBPU President Joseph Fiordaliso said.
According to the NJBPU, applications to build the new wind farm will be accepted from Sept. 20 through Dec. 28. The board intends to act on the applications by July 1, 2019.
The big step for New Jersey offshore wind came on the final day of operation for Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in Lacey Township, the oldest nuclear power plant in America. Oyster Creek first went online Dec. 1, 1969.
“It is poetic justice that Governor Murphy’s aggressive steps to advance offshore wind happens on the same day that the dilapidated and dangerous Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station is closing permanently,” said Amy Goldsmith, the New Jersey state director of Clean Water Action. “This proves dirty energy can be phased out and replaced with clean renewables.”
– Michael Sol Warren