‘Time for Turbines’: Environmental Advocacy Group Points to Promise of Offshore Wind

NJ Could Provide Four Times More Than Annual Electric Usage
Aug 29, 2018

A report compiled by the Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center found that winds blowing off the Atlantic coast could provide four times more electricity each year than the region currently uses. Twelve of the 14 coastal states have offshore wind potential that exceeds their current electricity consumption, including New Jersey.

“The winds blowing off the Jersey Shore continue to be the key for New Jersey’s clean, renewable energy future,” as Environment New Jersey, a citizen-based environmental advocacy project, states in regard to the report – “Wind Power to Spare: The Enormous Energy Potential of Atlantic Offshore Wind” – released by the group. The state, it adds, is uniquely positioned to harness the wind.

“We’re facing rising seas, intensifying storms, and unprecedented health threats because we’ve relied so long on dirty energy sources,” said Doug O’Malley, director of the Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center. “But sitting right here next to us is the Atlantic Ocean, and its winds provide a massive source of clean, renewable energy. Under Gov. (Phil) Murphy, New Jersey is jumpstarting our offshore wind industry and we have the chance to finally harness the wind and our clean energy potential.”

Murphy signed an executive order in January for the state to build 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind sources by 2030, leading to a state Board of Public Utilities’ solicitation for 1,100 MW of offshore wind under the state Offshore Wind Economic Development Act, which was passed in 2010 but never implemented.

Even if the 14 coastal states “converted all activities currently powered by gasoline, natural gas and other fossil fuels (such as transportation and home heating) to electricity,” as detailed in the report, “the energy provided by offshore wind turbines could still produce twice as much power as they would use. New Jersey has a ratio of 3.7 to 1.6 for our current offshore wind potential compared to our current electricity consumption and estimated electrified heat and transportation consumption.”

As Business Network for Offshore Wind Executive Director Liz Burdock pointed out, “The Outer Continental Shelf off the Eastern U.S. is one of the most productive offshore wind areas on earth. If we apply the lessons learned from the European offshore wind industry, we can produce enough clean electricity to power millions of homes in the next 10 to 20 years.

“New Jersey is perfectly positioned to quickly regain its leadership role on offshore wind energy and become a national model for states up and down the Eastern seaboard.”

Advances in technology, declining costs and growing concern about the environmental impacts of fossil fuels have contributed to the recent momentum in wind energy.

In late August, the Jersey Renews coalition and the Business Network for Off-Shore Wind co-sponsored the second annual Time For Turbines forum at the Atlantic County Utility Authority, home to the state’s largest on-shore wind facility. The event, held around the eighth anniversary of the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act, included all of the state’s off-shore wind developers, as well as labor partners, environmental leaders, representatives from Rutgers University, Board of Public Utilities President Joseph Fiordaliso and state Senate President Steve Sweeney.

“The Atlantic Coast, with its shallow waters and millions of people living close to shore, is especially well-suited for wind power,” said Environment New Jersey. “And, because there are no fuel costs, offshore wind power pays for itself in the long term. But a strong commitment from state policy-makers is critical, because adopting this clean energy source will require significant upfront investment in manufacturing and erecting the wind turbines and laying transmission lines.

“Recognizing this, Gov. Murphy and other governors in New York, Massachusetts, Maryland and Connecticut have established ambitious but feasible targets. If they meet these cumulative targets, offshore wind will provide enough electricity to power three million homes.”

“We’re seeing the signs of a race to the top on offshore wind, with states adopting increasingly bold goals,” O’Malley stated. “New Jersey is leading the way, and this report bolsters the Murphy administration’s aggressive offshore wind goals.”

Juliet Kaszas-Hoch 


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