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Developers make third push for AC offshore wind project

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Barrow Offshore windfarm in the Irish Sea.
Barrow Offshore windfarm in the Irish Sea. - ()

Two developers of an offshore wind project proposed for the Atlantic City coast are making their third effort to get the state's approval for the 25-megawatt wind proposal after former Gov. Chris Christie blocked two similar efforts.

EDF Renewables and Fishermen's Energy, which are backing the Nautilus Offshore Wind Project, have been told the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities will decide whether to approve the project within the next two months, according to Doug Copeland, EDF Renewables regional project manager.

Copeland said he hopes the project will fare better under Gov. Phil Murphy, who wants New Jersey to be 100 percent reliant on clean and renewable energy by 2050.

That includes Murphy’s statewide goal of 3,500 MW of offshore wind by the year 2030. If the BPU approves the project, construction could be finished by 2020 and electricity generation for ratepayers could start the next year, a major first step toward Murphy’s goal.

“It’s really exciting,” Copeland said. “Here we are in the throes of the state’s first offshore wind project.”

Copeland said the Christie administration hadn’t been on board with the expansion of clean energy in the state. But he indicated that the BPU denied Fisherman’s prior applications due to concerns over its funding mechanism and the wind turbine technology that would be utilized.

“It was during a different administration, I’m sure there was some politics as well,” Copeland said.

Construction of the wind farm will generate 600 short-term jobs, but just 15 for maintenance as well as the ferrying of crew between the turbines and coast.

Ratepayers would see a $1.76 increase on their electric bill a year for 20 years during the life of the offshore wind renewable energy certificate contract.

“The project has to meet a net benefit,” Copeland said. “The BPU will decide if the rate impact is balanced out by the benefit that the project brings … future learning opportunities from the project, job growth and labor expertise that’s developed.”

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Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel J. Munoz


Daniel Munoz covers politics and state government for NJBIZ. You can contact him at dmunoz@njbiz.com.

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