Library filed under Offshore Wind from New Jersey
The Legislature is trying to jumpstart offshore wind farms, a move spurred by frustration with the Christie administration’s failure to adopt regulations to make it happen in New Jersey. A bill (A-4538) introduced last Thursday by the deputy speaker of the Assembly John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester) proposes to have offshore wind projects financed by the state’s four electric utilities, which would recover the money from consumers -- and then some.
Economics, however, seemed to be the biggest factor in the state agency’s opposition. Fishermen’s Energy project relies on lucrative federal tax credits to make the project viable from a business and ratepayer perspective, but those incentives expire at the end of this year, unless renewed by Congress, and that appears to be a long-shot prospect, at best. “Most importantly, FACW has failed to credibly demonstrate that it will actually receive, at this late date, all of the federal subsidies,’’ the staff said in its brief.
The clock is quietly winding down on Fishermen’s Energy offshore wind project, a proposal its backers say could propel New Jersey into becoming a hub for offshore wind farms, and potentially create hundreds, if not thousands of new manufacturing jobs in the state. The 25-megawatt pilot, located 2.8 miles off Atlantic City, is the first to come under review by state regulators, but its prospects of moving forward are looking bleaker by the week, if not by the day.
For the second time in two months, the federal government is auctioning leases to build offshore wind farms along the Eastern Seaboard -- once again without including New Jersey. The latest auction involved 112,800 acres approximately 25 miles off the Virginia coast.
BPU commissioners expressed questions about the financial integrity of the project. They particularly opposed a provision in the settlement to saddle ratepayers with another $19.2 million in costs, above and beyond what they will pay for the electricity produced by the wind farm, if the projected federal incentives fall short of expectations.
Part of the idea was to link wind farms planned from Boston to Virginia so each could offset dips in power generation by the others and make the power supply more reliable. ...At the time, NRG Energy still planned a wind farm off of Delaware and interest in a similar outpost off of Ocean City, Md., was growing. Since then, however, NRG Energy has shelved its Delaware plan and progress in Maryland has dcragged on slowly.
Google plans to corner the wind energy market in New Jersey. It's a first-of-its kind venture that could cost Google and its partners $1.3 billion, but one Google believes fits its core mission: You can make money without doing evil.
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.
Stefanie Brand, director of the division, yesterday said the pilot project nearly three miles off Atlantic City, is still opposed by her office. "It's just too expensive,'' she said. ...The projected costs also have raised alarm among business groups, which have consistently pressed the Christie administration to find ways to lower energy bills in New Jersey
Fisherman's Energy is awaiting its last state approvals, from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, which has to decide whether the green benefits of offshore wind justify comparatively higher costs that could raise electric rates for consumers.
"I think wind energy is a good thing but they have to be very careful about ratepayer subsidy," said Stefanie Brand, executive director for the Rate Counsel, essentially the state's watchdog. "Unless we are going to get a greater benefit than it costs us, money wise and environmental benefit, we can't ask ratepayers to subsidize it." Fishermen's Energy, whose website says it will begin construction this year, is still trying to convince the BPU about those benefits.
The offshore high voltage cable project, called Atlantic Wind Connection, would link wind energy farms up and down New Jersey, connecting an estimated 3,000 megawatts of wind turbine electricity to power nearly 1 million households, according to the company website. The entire undertaking will take an estimated 10 years to complete.