Library from New Jersey
Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., has vetoed legislation that would have instructed the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to open a new window for applications for small offshore wind projects off the coast of Atlantic City.
Utilities regulators will still closely evaluate the proposed project to make sure the cost of electricity it generates is affordable to consumers. Concerns that large subsidies might be needed have led the BPU to reject the proposal three times.
A new piece of legislation would push the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to follow through on a plan to promote offshore wind energy in Atlantic City.
The state Board of Public Utilities held firm the past couple of years in its rejection of a proposed Fishermen's Energy wind project off Atlantic City. The state should do the same regarding a federal push for wind farms in the Atlantic Ocean. ...If federal officials have a convincing argument that wind energy is so valuable for environmental reasons that customers and/or taxpayers should pay more for it, let them make that case to the nation and have all Americans pay for it.
New Jersey released its revised Energy Master Plan on Friday, which calls for greater energy resiliency and puts less faith in offshore wind.
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.
Here's why his leadership on this issue is so critical. The EPA's new rules mandate that New Jersey cut carbon emissions 26 percent by 2030. The only way to achieve such dramatic reductions over such a relatively short period of time is to shutter many of our traditional power sources that provide affordable and dependable energy.
“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.