State Director, Environment New Jersey
State Director, Environment New Jersey
Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center
Galloway – Today’s Off-Shore Wind Energy Forum, hosted by Stockton University and co-sponsored by Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center, the Stockton University Sustainability Trust and the Business Network for Off-Shore Wind, kicks off after the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) federal sale last November of two leases for offshore wind energy development of 344,000 acres off the Jersey Shore. The winning bidders, RES Americas and US Wind Inc., spent nearly $2 million to obtain the leases, and as local wind developer, Fishermen’s Energy, has continued efforts to construct a 5-turbine wind farm off the coast of Atlantic City in state waters.
The forum will address how New Jersey fits into the Department of Interior’s vision for expanding off-shore wind on the East Coast, the development plans for each off-shore wind developer, the opportunities for New Jersey to become a leader of an offshore wind energy industry, and the potential economic market created for this industry through the introduction of an offshore wind renewable energy credit (OREC) system.
“New Jersey has tremendous offshore wind potential, and this forum provides an important opportunity to learn more about recent and upcoming efforts supporting responsible offshore wind energy development,” said BOEM Deputy Director Walter Cruickshank.
The panelists will feature BOEM Deputy Director Walter Cruickshank, representatives from RES Americas, US Wind Inc., Fishermen’s Energy, and New Jersey’s 2nd Legislative District. Also, there will be a special video statement from Senator Cory Booker directed to the audience on the importance of offshore wind energy in New Jersey. The forum will be moderated by Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey, and Dylan Martello, Stockton senior and president of the Stockton Sustainability Trust.
“We can, in New Jersey, seize energy opportunities and at the same time improve our environment and create jobs. We now need to do what is necessary to create the incentives to continue investment in renewables, said Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) in a prepared video for the forum. “New Jersey is a prime example how we as a nation can innovate and take advantage of all the great natural resources we have that are renewable like wind and solar. We should be welcoming offshore wind projects that provide clean, affordable, sustainable energy and power to our state.”
A recent Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center report, Turning to the Wind, showed that New Jersey had the most off-shore wind potential out of any of the announced BOEM leases on the East Coast, using data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The report also showed that the carbon pollution equal to 1.1 million cars could be eliminated over the next five years with a rapid expansion in wind power off the Jersey Shore.
“U.S. Wind is excited to be involved in New Jersey’s renewable energy revolution! New Jersey has enormous potential to be one of the leaders in this emerging market and we are glad to be involved in continuing the conversation on next steps with New Jersey’s top policymakers and elected officials hosted by the New Jersey Offshore Wind Energy Forum,” said Paul Rich, U.S. Wind Inc. Project Development Director.
“I’m pleased to be participating in this important event. It’s a great opportunity to bring people together to discuss the benefits of offshore wind and the potential for it to be a part of the energy mix in New Jersey,” said Carolyn Heeps, Development Strategy Manager, RES Offshore.
Both the Legislature and Gov. Christie approved a plan for the state’s first major offshore wind farm in 2010, which became perpetually stalled. The Fishermen’s Energy’s long-delayed project, would construct 25-megawatt wind farm three miles off Atlantic City, could generate more than 500 jobs to the area, already received a $47 million Department of Energy grant and could be constructed in only two years.
“I would like to congratulate Environment New Jersey on organizing a great panel discussion,” said Senator Jim Whelan (D-2). “It is exciting to think about the benefits that offshore wind energy could provide to New Jersey. It is now more obvious than ever that the Board of Public Utilities needs to act not only on the Fishermen’s Energy project but also on implementing the bipartisan, landmark offshore wind law that we passed nearly six years ago.”
“I am grateful to Environment New Jersey and Stockton University for hosting this worthwhile and informative panel,” said Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “New Jersey has the potential to be a national leader in off shore wind energy, yet qualified projects are being caught in perpetual delay. Now more than ever we need to find a way to green our environment and our economy – offshore wind at both the state and federal level has the potential to do both.”
Off-shore wind is a key component to meeting the state’s renewable portfolio standard requirement of generating 22.5% renewable energy by 2021. The BPU has consistently delayed implementing an Off-Shore Wind Renewable Energy Credit program and the latest update to the state Energy Master Plan downplayed the importance of off-shore wind in meeting New Jersey’s renewable energy benchmarks.
The omnibus budget bill which passed Congress and signed into law by President Obama right before Christmas included an unexpected boon for the clean energy industry, with the five-year extension of a key clean energy tax credit for the wind industry, the production tax credit (PTC), as well as the investment tax credit (ITC). The PTC expired at the end of 2014, and now will be extended through the end of 2020. The ITC was slated to expire at the end of 2016, and will now be extended through 2022.
“As New Jersey seeks to diversify its energy sources to meet growing demand, renewables such as on and offshore wind are a promising opportunity. With technology advancing every day, today’s forum serves to bring all partners and voices to the table in hopes of chartering a path forward in the 21st century. I applaud the work being done by Stockton University, Environment New Jersey and other key partners in this worthy endeavor,” said Congressman Frank LoBiondo (R-2), who championed efforts to renew tax credits for off-shore wind.
“Given the immediate and imminent threats of global climate change, it is imperative that New Jersey takes the lead on developing offshore wind projects. This is an exciting time for young professionals and graduates looking to enter this industry and I am looking forward to Stockton University’s potential involvement with these NJ offshore wind projects,” said Dylan Martello, president of Stockton’s Sustainability Trust and a graduating senior who worked with Fishermen’s Energy last summer and the event’s co-moderator.
“Today’s forum shows there are nearly two million reasons why we are going to see off-shore wind built off the Jersey Shore. It’s a question of when, and not if,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center and the event’s co-moderator. “The winds of change are blowing in New Jersey, and we urge the BPU to move forward and implement the off-shore wind program. We need off-shore wind to be able to meet our clean energy goals and fight climate change.”
Follow the Live-Stream for Today’s Forum: https://livestream.com/StocktonUniversity/njoswforum
In November, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) successfully auctioned off the two wind energy areas off the Jersey Shore totaling 344,000 acres. The off-shore wind leases were awarded to Res Americas and U.S. Wind Inc. and the final total sale price was nearly $2 million. The wind energy area begins about seven nautical miles off the coast from Atlantic City (shown here) and extend 21 nautical miles off the Shore. New Jersey stands to benefit the most out of any Atlantic Coast state from the extension of the PTC and the report estimates that New Jersey would see the 7th highest increase in wind in the country because of the tax credit’s extension.