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N.J. legislators hope to extend wind incentives

New Jersey is hoping to lure an offshore wind manufacturer to the state to help jump-start a green industry, but a lucrative incentive aimed at attracting the business is no longer available. ...to qualify, a company had to make its decision by the end of 2012. With a Chinese manufacturer offering to build a facility ...the bill is likely to move forward before the new fiscal year begins in June.

Safeguarding funds from any utility subsidies for this purpose is one challenge.

New Jersey is hoping to lure an offshore wind manufacturer to the state to help jump-start a green industry, but a lucrative incentive aimed at attracting the business is no longer available.

A landmark offshore-wind law enacted by the Christie administration in 2010 offered up to $100 million in tax credits if a manufacturer located its operations in the state, but to qualify, a company had to make its decision by the end of 2012.

Lawmakers in both chambers have introduced bills extending the deadline to July 1, 2014. To qualify for the credits, the manufacturer must invest at least $50 million and employ 300 employees at its facility, which would be built at one of two ports in the state.

With a Chinese manufacturer offering to build a facility as part of its participation in a pilot offshore wind farm three miles from Atlantic City, the bill is likely to move forward before the new fiscal year begins in June.

Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula (D., Somerset), chairman of the Telecommunications and Utilities Committee and a sponsor of one of the bills, last week said he expected... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Safeguarding funds from any utility subsidies for this purpose is one challenge.

New Jersey is hoping to lure an offshore wind manufacturer to the state to help jump-start a green industry, but a lucrative incentive aimed at attracting the business is no longer available.

A landmark offshore-wind law enacted by the Christie administration in 2010 offered up to $100 million in tax credits if a manufacturer located its operations in the state, but to qualify, a company had to make its decision by the end of 2012.

Lawmakers in both chambers have introduced bills extending the deadline to July 1, 2014. To qualify for the credits, the manufacturer must invest at least $50 million and employ 300 employees at its facility, which would be built at one of two ports in the state.

With a Chinese manufacturer offering to build a facility as part of its participation in a pilot offshore wind farm three miles from Atlantic City, the bill is likely to move forward before the new fiscal year begins in June.

Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula (D., Somerset), chairman of the Telecommunications and Utilities Committee and a sponsor of one of the bills, last week said he expected the legislation to be approved before the budget break.

The expiration of the tax credit reflects the fits and starts that the state has experienced in trying to develop an offshore wind industry. New Jersey's Energy Master Plan calls for 1,100 megawatts of offshore wind capacity to be developed by 2020. No projects have been cleared to begin construction, with delays at both the state and federal levels.

The biggest hurdle at the state level involves how to finance the projects with ratepayers' subsidies, without having that money appropriated by lawmakers and the Christie administration to plug holes in the state budget. That sort of appropriation has occurred repeatedly in recent years.

In the draft state budget for New Jersey's coming fiscal year, the governor again proposes to divert $152 million in ratepayer-financed funds intended for energy-efficiency projects and cleaner ways of producing power.

The state Board of Public Utilities (BPU) retained a consultant to try to develop a framework to prevent appropriation of clean-energy funds, but its proposal was met at best with a lukewarm reception from offshore wind developers at a meeting in Trenton last month. The stakeholders are holding meetings to develop an approach to resolve the problem, but no consensus has emerged.

Even if developers work out a new mechanism, New Jersey's first offshore wind project, a 25-megawatt facility proposed by Fishermen's Energy in state waters off Atlantic City, still faces big hurdles. Consultants retained by both the BPU and New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel say the $200 million project is too expensive to ratepayers to move forward.

In its latest filing with the regulatory agencies this month, however, Fishermen's Energy said its backer, XEMC, signed a written agreement to build a manufacturing facility, probably in Paulsboro, if the project is approved and certain other conditions are met. Primarily, XEMC wants approval given to it or other companies to develop offshore wind facilities along the coast.

XEMC's commitment is important because some offshore wind developers say privately that they will never meet the so-called threshold of providing a "net economic benefit" to the state unless several manufacturers locate their operations within New Jersey.


Source: http://www.philly.com/phill...

MAR 19 2013
http://www.windaction.org/posts/36596-n-j-legislators-hope-to-extend-wind-incentives
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