Library from New Jersey
“The New Jersey and Maryland programs tie guaranteed payments under state law to the wholesale rate under the PJM auction and to the generators’ participating in and clearing the PJM auction,” the brief stated. “State-selected generators can then bid into the auction market at a price that does not accurately reflect their costs, thereby disrupting the auction’s price signals that are designed to incentivize new generation.” ...The cases are Hughes et al. v. PPL EnergyPlus LLC et al., case number 14-614 and CPV Maryland LLC v. PPL EnergyPlus LLC et al., case number 14-623, in the Supreme Court of the United States.
While Fishermen’s Energy has one more chance to appeal – to the U.S. Supreme Court — company officials said they do not plan to take that route. Instead, they have changed some of the details of their project to address the BPU’s concerns, including a change in the manufacturer of the turbines that will be used from XEMC to Siemens.
The Cape May-based company has been at odds for years with the state Board of Public Utilities over its plan to build a $200 million demonstration-scale wind farm off the coast of Atlantic City. The state Supreme Court this week declined to hear the company’s appeal of the BPU’s latest rejection of the project.
BPU spokesman Greg Reinert said the agency is working with the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and providing input on the lease sale. "This administration continues to support the development of sustainable, clean offshore wind energy production in a manner that is economically sound and that protects our ratepayers from exposure," Reinert said.
In a bid to prod the BPU to act, the state Senate passed a bill that would force the agency to approve the Fisherman’s Energy pilot project and exempt it from the BPU’s cost-benefit analysis. But the bill has not moved in the Assembly, and Christie could always veto it. When Christie revamped the state’s energy master plan in 2011, he noted the exceptionally high cost of electricity in New Jersey and emphasized that any offshore wind project must clear a high hurdle — the developers must prove the project would provide more of an immediate economic benefit than a burden to the state’s ratepayers.
The wind turbine used to power the city's Oak Street and Fifth Street pumping stations has gone motionless, costing the city roughly $25,000 a month in energy costs, officials confirmed. And there's more possible bad news -- Bayonne may be on the hook for roughly $350,000 to replace the broken generator.
The proposed 25-megawatt wind farm in shallow coastal waters already has been rejected twice by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, a decision upheld by a state appellate court last month. It is the only offshore wind project to come before the agency, which called the proposal too costly to utility customers who would help pay for the facility.
The hearings occur at a time when the Legislature is considering a bill that would dramatically ramp up the state’s reliance on renewable energy to meet its needs. If adopted, it would require 80 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2050. The proposal is opposed by many business groups, who fear it would boost already high energy costs, since some of the programs are funded by surcharges on utility bills.
The state courts have sided with the Board of Public Utility noting the board did not believe the benefits outweighed "the risks and costs of using an unproven technology to produce electricity," according to the Press of Atlantic City.
Cape May-based Fishermen’s Energy on Friday lost another attempt seeking to build windmills three miles off the coast of Atlantic City. A state appeals court sided with the Board of Public Utility’s authority when it repeatedly rejected the offshore wind project on concerns it would be too costly for everyone who pays an electric bill.
Pro-solar New Jersey environmental groups have been sharply critical of the plan. They contend that green energy shouldn't come at the expense of a rich forest ecosystem, and point to the theme park's nearly 100-acre parking area as a better location for the facility.
But while the bill has bipartisan sponsorship — It's sponsored by state Sens. Bob Smith (D-Middlesex) and Christopher "Kip" Bateman (R-Somerset) — it's unlikely to be law any time soon. Supporters and sponsors admit that if it makes it as far as Gov. Chris Christie's desk, they expect him to veto it.
A plan that promised to bring hundreds of jobs and alternative energy to New Jersey -- including construction at the Port of Paulsboro -- is indefinitely stalled as the federal government and the Board of Public Utilities have slowed down momentum for wind energy projects.
A spokesman for the governor did not respond to a request for comment, but state officials have said the project by Fishermen’s Energy is too financially risky. ...offshore wind farms are extremely costly to build, with some companies estimating price tags of more than $1 billion to build 90 turbines off the New Jersey coast.
The plan, rejected three times by New Jersey utility regulators, is the subject of a court appeal due to be heard in March. But Fishermen's Energy is powering ahead with the plan anyway in order to take advantage of federal tax credits that expire at the end of the year.
In the Fishermen’s Energy case, homeowners and businesses would be the ones subsidizing the wind farm, through state agreements to buy the power at rates substantially above the cost of electricity in the open market. Wind turbines are a mature technology deployed all over the world, including much at sea, so the “demonstration” aspect of the project is not to show they work but to show sufficient subsidies and political gain can be lined up to do a lot more windmill development off the East Coast.
The state on Friday again rejected a pilot wind farm project off the New Jersey coast, arguing that the company's financial plan is unsound and would require a state subsidy so large it would make the energy produced too costly for ratepayers. The company vowed to appeal.
Backers view the bill as a marker that will be eventually accepted by a new administration, once Christie’s term ends in January 2018 -- or sooner, if the governor decides to run for president and resigns his office. “We are talking about policy over the next 36 years.’’
While this newest development ends the legal battles between the borough and the sewerage authority for now, it remains unclear whether the authority, which has already spent nearly $6 million, will continue to pursue construction of the wind turbine. ...while the case was pending, the turbine was stored at a facility in Newark that was flooded during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. ...the turbine’s generator, its control panel and the blades were damaged.
BPU commissioners have said the “Offshore Renewable Energy Certificates” (ORECs) — which are required to recoup the millions of dollars investors would spend on the wind farm — may be costlier than projected. That would leave ratepayers on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars, the BPU contends.