Fishermen’s Energy Saga Heads To State Supreme Court

Posted by NAW Staff on June 23, 2015 No Comments
Categories : New & Noteworthy

On June 18, Fishermen's Energy filed documents with the Supreme Court of New Jersey to pursue a court ruling that will overturn the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities' (BPU) decision to deny approval of the planned Atlantic City offshore wind project.

Fishermen's was one of three offshore wind developers to receive $47 million from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) offshore wind technology program last year.

At issue is cost. Fishermen's is attempting to avail itself of credits from the state's Offshore Wind Economic Development Act (OWEDA) to use in financing the 25 MW offshore wind demonstration project. In March 2014, the BPU rejected the developer's application for several reasons, including concerns about the project's economic and technological viability, the cost of the electricity it would produce, and whether the project would produce a net benefit under the OWEDA statute.

‘We really have no choice here,’ explains Chris Wissemann, CEO of Fishermen's Energy. ‘Continued pursuit of approval of this project is important for the progress of the industry. The BPU's decision – and in particular, the stated rationale for their decision – cannot be left standing or it will ensure that no offshore wind projects are ever approved in New Jersey.’ Â

‘We have been portrayed as Chinese-owned, Mandarin-financial-wielding heretics that the BPU claims lack the "candor, transparency and cooperation" to be worthy of approval,’ notes Wissemann. ‘This is in direct contrast to recognition by the industry -Â most notably, the DOE – that Fishermen's Energy is an industry leader.’

Additionally, the offshore wind energy developer says it plans to ask the DOE for a contract extension. As a recipient of DOE funding, Fishermen's is required to meet certain milestones, including signing an off-take agreement.

Paul Gallagher, Fishermen's chief operating officer and general counsel, notes, ‘This case boils down to two things: the BPU staff's misleading assertion that Fishermen's Energy had demonstrated bad faith, lack of 'candor, transparency and cooperation' by providing financials solely in Mandarin and that the proposed price was $263 per megawatt-hour, making the project fail the cost-benefit test. Had I been a commissioner hearing this rationale from my staff, I too, would have voted against the project. The problem is that neither of these assertions is true.’

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