The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) has denied Fishermen's Energy's motion for reconsideration, and the offshore wind developer now plans to take its appeal to court.
‘We are disappointed in this decision, but not surprised,’ states Paul Gallagher, Fishermen's chief operating officer and general counsel.
In March, the BPU rejected the developer's application, ruling that the proposed project would cost ratepayers too much. Fishermen's plans to build a 25 MW offshore wind demonstration project off the Atlantic City coast, and the BPU's approval would have allowed the developer to use state offshore renewable energy certificates (ORECs) as a funding mechanism.
Earlier this month, Fishermen's asked the BPU to reconsider its decision and claimed that the regulators mistakenly based the decision on a $263/MWh OREC price when the actual proposed price was $199.17/MWh.
Further complicating matters, Fishermen's was one of seven companies to receive an offshore wind grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in 2012 and is now competing for a $47 million follow-up grant. The developer says it expects the DOE to make its final decision in May.
"The [BPU] clearly did not see the value in waiting for the Department of Energy to announce its pending decision of awardees for its Phase II grants for demonstration offshore wind projects, even though lack of certainty of federal funding, especially the DOE grant, was the BPU's stated reason for denial," comments Rhonda Jackson, Fishermen's director of communication.
Now that the BPU has dismissed the Fishermen's motion, the developer plans to file its appeal in court.
"Today's perfunctory NO vote by the BPU is the last step leading to our formal legal appeal," says Gallagher. "We are grateful New Jersey has an independent judiciary and look forward to having the merits of our application finally heard in the Appellate Division. We expect to be vindicated by the courts and to build the first offshore wind farm off of New Jersey, one that still could be the first in the United States."