Two energy companies won the rights to advance wind energy off New Jersey's coast, where the potential exists to power 1.2 million homes, the government said.
The companies - RES America Developments and U.S. Wind Inc.- won the rights in a lease auction on Monday.
RES America is an offshoot of the United Kingdom headquartered RES Group and US Wind is controlled by Renexia, a subsidiary of Italy's TOTO Holding S.p.A. Both RES Group and Renexia have considerable experience in worldwide offshore wind developments. In the end, almost 344,000 acres offshore New Jersey were offered for potential wind energy development.
BOEM in December started a review of Virginia's plans for offshore wind installations with an assessment of the potential impact of a planned 12 megawatt project backed by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy.
Another setback for offshore wind in New Jersey has been the BPU's repeated rejection of a bid by Fishermen's Energy, a New Jersey-based developer, to build a small pilot wind farm in state waters about 3 miles off Atlantic City.
It's now up to New York's Legislature to take the lead in clearing hurdles and establishing a balanced regulatory framework for offshore wind development.
"Gov. Christie signed a bill five years ago greenlighting off-shore wind off the Jersey shore", said Doug O'Malley, director of Environment New Jersey.
A third company, Fishermen's Energy, participated in the auction but did not win.
"Today's auction underscores the emerging market demand for renewable energy and marks another major step in standing up a sustainable offshore wind program for Atlantic coast communities", said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.
But through legislation approved in 2010, the BPU must make sure that the OREC price for each offshore wind project meets a "net benefits" test - the subsidies a project receives must still be low enough to provide a net benefit to ratepayers. Then they would have four and a half years to submit a construction and operation plan.
The 30 or so fishermen who were able to attend the meeting all protested BOEM's proposed land leases off Point Pleasant and Long Island (N.Y.) where known ocean scallop beds are commercially dredged. "I said, 'There's lots of wind out there; couldn't you just move it further east?'" said Larson on Tuesday. "It could affect who knows how many fisheries". Steelers Lounge