BPU again rejects Fishermen’s Energy project

Andrew George//November 21, 2014

BPU again rejects Fishermen’s Energy project

Andrew George//November 21, 2014

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities voted Friday to again reject a project put forth by Cape May-based Fishermen’s Energy for a 25-megawatt wind farm three miles off the coast of Atlantic City.The vote was unanimous, with recently appointed Commissioner Upendra Chivukula, a former Democratic Assemblyman and once-vocal supporter of the project, recusing himself.

On multiple occasions, the BPU has rejected the project’s applications to join the state’s offshore wind renewable energy credit program, or OREC, on the grounds that it imposes high costs and risks on New Jersey ratepayers.

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In a previous interview with NJBIZ, Paul Gallahger, Fishermen’s chief operating officer and general counsel, said the $188 million project would create 500 new jobs and is equipped with $47 million in federal funding.

Fishermen’s did not immediately return an emailed request for comment Friday.

Though Gov. Chris Christie signed the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act in 2010 with the intentions of growing an emerging green industry in the state, those efforts have largely stalled.

Echoing the sentiments of some that claim Christie’s future political ambitions are at the heart of the issue, New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said in a statement Friday that “once again, the BPU took the side of the Koch Brothers and Tea Party over green jobs and the environment.”

“The BPU cannot justify the continuous rejection of this project and have actually run out of excuses, but they are doing it anyway,” Tittel said. “We are very troubled by the way the Board of Public Utilities continues to treat offshore wind. They keep delaying or ignoring the issue.

“It is disturbing that the Fishermen’s Energy project was rejected again even though they met the net benefits test, have federal funding and had the support of the Ratepayer Advocate. The delay and absence of rules allow the Board to reject projects without reason. Until there are rules in place, offshore wind in New Jersey will not be a reality and we will miss out on the jobs and economic growth that comes with investing in offshore wind.”


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