Fishermen’s Energy Pilot Wind Farm Loses Steam; Other Companies Bid to Develop Coastal Wind Lease

Jan 23, 2019

Despite the financial advantage of partnering with EDF Renewables North America in a demonstration offshore windfarm called “Nautilus,” the local consortium of commercial fisheries, Fishermen’s Energy, that includes Viking Village of Barnegat Light, failed to get New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approval.

Speaking for EDF, Doug Copeland stated, “The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities decision on Nautilus Offshore Wind is disappointing to say the least. With permitting already in place, Nautilus is the only project capable of giving New Jersey an early lead in offshore wind.”

On Dec. 18, the BPU announced it had again rejected the 25-megawatt demonstration project off Atlantic City. The NJBPU stated, “This pilot project, originally proposed in 2009, does not demonstrate the economic and environmental benefits required under the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act (OWEDA) for the state to commit ratepayer funds. … Nautilus did not provide the necessary information so the Board Staff could properly validate the information.”

In contrast to the bad news for Fishermen’s Energy, on the same day, the BPU announced it had voted to adopt a proposed rule establishing the funding mechanism for the state’s offshore wind program. The funding mechanism is known as the Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Certificate (OREC). OREC establishes the process by which all offshore wind projects will be funded and how revenues will flow back to ratepayers.

The lack of a funding mechanism had been a stumbling block for years under the Christie administration.

“Today’s actions demonstrate my Administration’s focus on developing a robust offshore wind market and achieving 3,500 MW of offshore wind and 100 percent clean energy by 2050,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “The offshore wind program is a key component of the state’s strategic economic growth plan and a critical strategy to mitigate the impacts of climate change.”

The next day, Dec. 19, EDF announced it had partnered with Shell New Energies US LLC to bid on a wind farm lease consisting of 183,353 acres of the U.S. Continental Shelf, about 8 miles off the coast of Atlantic City.

The 50/50 joint venture between EDF and Shell is called Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind.

On Dec. 28, the BPU announced it had received three bids to develop 1,100 megawatts of offshore wind, the largest single state solicitation to date. Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, Ǿrstead and Equinor bid to develop the wind farm lease on OCS-0499.

“The Board is extremely excited to receive these solicitations. New Jersey has regained its place as a leader when it comes to clean, renewable energy, and offshore wind power is a major component in taking us there,” said BPU President Joseph Fiordaliso. “We are one giant step closer to fulfilling Governor Phil Murphy’s vision of 3,500 MW of offshore wind power by 2030.”

The BPU has selected an economic consultant to assist in the evaluation of the applications who with board staff will review and evaluate the applications before providing a recommendation to the board. The review will consider the requirement that applicants demonstrate “positive net-economic and environmental benefits for the state.”

The decision on which company will develop the wind farm is to be announced in the spring.

— Pat Johnson



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