Governor Phil Murphy announces offshore wind commitment of 7,500 MW up till 2035, demonstrating confidence in the sector
New Jersey has released an offshore wind solicitation schedule to meet the 7,500 megawatt (MW) offshore wind goal by 2035. The governor has called upon the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to take all necessary actions to implement the plan.
These projects will deliver the clean, renewable energy generation needed to meet the State’s goals of fifty percent renewable energy by 2030 and one hundred percent clean energy economy by 2050. Reaching 7,500 MW will generate enough electricity to power more than 3.2 million homes and meet fifty percent of the state’s electric power need, while supporting an offshore wind industry that will generate billions of dollars in investments in New Jersey’s future and create thousands of jobs.
Governor Murphy said, “Several months ago, I committed the State of New Jersey to 7,500 MW of offshore wind by 2035, as a critical component of achieving one hundred percent clean energy by 2050,” By announcing this planned solicitation schedule, we are demonstrating to our partners in industry and labor that we are committed to implementing this process in a thoughtful way that ensures economic growth for the New Jersey.”
“Not only was Governor Murphy the first to embrace one hundred percent clean energy, he has been a national leader when it comes to recognizing the importance of offshore wind,” said New Jersey Board of Public Utilities President Joseph L. Fiordaliso. “New Jersey opened the largest single-state solicitation, is building a supply chain that will support projects up and down the east coast and is poised to double our offshore wind capacity. Guided by our new Energy Master Plan, offshore wind is a critical component in realizing the Governor’s vision of 100 percent clean energy by 2050 and ensuring our planet survives for future generations.”
The proposed schedule calls for the next 1,200 MW solicitation to be opened by September 2020, with an award made by second quarter of 2021. Setting a solicitation schedule through to 2035 provides a crucial level of certainty for developers, original equipment manufacturers, and the supply chain.
To be responsive to the evolving market, the schedule has been developed to provide flexibility in terms of the amount being procured with each solicitation and the exact timeline. There are a number of factors that could influence the timing and the quantity to be procured including transmission solutions and development schedule, the status of additional lease areas, permitting, port readiness, establishment of a supply chain, workforce training, and cost trends.
The Solicitation Schedule up to 2035
“This is really important,’’ said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. “It’s putting a calendar to the aspirations of the Governor’s goals. There’s no other state in the nation who has a solicitation locked in over the next decade or so.’’
In January 2018, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 8, which directed NJBPU to fully implement the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act and begin the process of moving the state toward a goal of 3,500 MW of offshore wind by the year 2030. In response, New Jersey Board Public Utilities issued a solicitation for 1,100 MW of offshore wind and awarded Ørsted with the largest single state contract in June 2019. Ørsted expects this first project to be operational by 2024.
This was superceded by Executive Order No. 92 from November 2019 increasing the target to 7,500 MW of offshore wind by the year 2035.
The issue of grid connection is also important, so the New Jersey legislature enacted S. 3985, which was signed into law by Governor Murphy on January 21. The new law authorizes the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to conduct competitive solicitations for open access offshore wind transmission facilities. These will enable the collection of offshore wind energy or its delivery to the New Jersey electric grid, and may be located either on land or offshore. If constructed as outlined in the recent law, these new transmission facilities will solve one of the more pressing problems for offshore wind: the need for infrastructure to deliver what will be significant amounts of generated power.
These substations will be “open access” transmission facilities, so they will be able to collect electricity from several offshore wind projects and interconnect to the onshore grid rather than the other option of individual onshore points of interconnection for each project. Open access offshore wind transmission is also under consideration in New York and New England, where several large-scale offshore wind projects have been approved and are under development.
The combination of ambitious wind array schemes and enhanced grid connection facilities is a good one. 7.5 GW is an ambitious target but the long timeline will be welcomed by the industry, helping it to plan for the long-term and put the infrastructure, including grid updates, which will ensure that the US OW sector can develop positively.
The US offshore wind market is probably the most rapidly-developing renewable energy sector in the world.
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