New Jersey state legislators continue to show their support for offshore wind energy, having advanced another bill that would make utility regulators review Fishermen’s Energy’s proposed project yet again.
In a 23-11 vote Thursday, the New Jersey Senate passed S.B.988, and the legislation now goes to the General Assembly for consideration. The bill would instruct 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. Although the full legislature previously passed such a measure, Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., pocket vetoed that legislation on Jan. 19.
The BPU denied the Fishermen’s 25 MW demonstration project, proposed offshore Altantic City, due to several objections, including economic and technological viability. The developer has since won a a $50 million funding agreement from the U.S. Department of Energy and switched its turbine supplier to Siemens.
“This legislation simply asks the BPU to take a fresh look at the Atlantic City project given that federal money is in place to reduce the price significantly,” comments Chris Wissemann, CEO of Fishermen’s. “We think that this reduced power price, coupled with Siemens turbines, will result in a project that everyone can find a compelling first step to attract this industry to New Jersey.”
The New Jersey Sierra Club has welcomed the reintroduction of legislation that could lead to the success of the Fishermen’s project. The group also charges that Gov. Chris Christie and his administration have failed to fully implement the Offshore Wind Energy Development Act (OWEDA).
“Five years ago, Governor Christie signed OWEDA, but since then, he has blocked attempts to make offshore wind a reality,” says Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “For five years, the BPU has failed to propose financing rules to allow investments of offshore wind to happen. … This is hurting our economy and preventing green jobs and clean energy from being a reality.”