Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

State to Develop Plan for Offshore Wind Farm

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

State to Develop Plan for Offshore Wind Farm

Article excerpt

Gov. Phil Murphy ordered his administration Wednesday to develop an offshore wind plan for New Jersey after eight years of stalled progress to harness the Atlantic Ocean as an energy resource.

Murphy, who has promised to convert the state fully to clean energy by 2050, signed an executive order intended to establish New Jersey as an environmental leader. The order outlines a goal of generating 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, enough to power 1.5 million homes, and directs his acting environmental protection commissioner and utilities president to establish a strategic offshore wind plan.

Murphy signed the executive order at an Atlantic City wastewater facility powered by wind turbines that have become part of the city's casino skyline.

He called attention to a 2010 law signed by Gov. Chris Christie, known as the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act, that he said was designed to begin a new era of power and generate a new energy sector. But what should have been a "big game-changer" for the economy idled in bureaucracy while other states "leapfrogged us," he said.

"There is tremendous urgency in our need to act," Murphy said. "The days of political delay are over. 2030 is only a dozen years away and we have a lot to do, so we better get to it," he added. "And surely as the breezes blow at the Jersey Shore, we're going to get this done."

New Jersey was poised to become the first state to develop offshore wind power when Christie signed the 2010 law, but environmentalists say Christie stalled the development of a key funding mechanism in the ensuing years as he embarked on a presidential bid to appeal to conservative voters in states heavily dependent of fossil fuels.

Without offshore renewable energy certificates, known as ORECs, companies could not get investors to finance turbine projects that often cost as much as $1 billion. Rhode Island moved ahead and became the first state to produce offshore wind power when turbines went online in late 2016. …

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