The state’s public utility board on Wednesday said it was moving ahead with the second tranche of offshore wind, seeking solicitations from developers to build out 1,200 to 2,400 megawatts of wind capacity ahead of a goal of 7,500 MW of offshore wind by 2030, in pursuit of a “clean energy economy” laid out by the Murphy administration.
Wind energy developer Ørsted was approved last year for a first set of 1,100 MW of wind turbine projects 15 miles off the coast of Atlantic City. A third bid is scheduled to go out in 2022.
In 2018, Gov. Phil Murphy laid out an ambitious goal for the state to be totally reliant on clean energy by 2050.
“We have been moving at a whirlwind pace on offshore wind, and especially with the twin crises of COVD-19’s economic devastation and climate change, we are not slowing down any time soon,” New Jersey Board of Public Utilities President Joseph Fiordaliso said in a Wednesday statement. “New Jersey has the wind, and the time to get in on our new innovation economy – located in the strong winds right off our 130-mile coastline – is now.”
“Developing New Jersey’s offshore wind industry will bring thousands of good-paying jobs and millions of dollars in economic development to our state to aid our economic recovery from COVID-19,” Murphy said in a Wednesday afternoon statement.
Earlier in the day, the NJBPU and New Jersey Economic Development Authority approved putting up nearly $6 million for wind energy workforce training.
The first tranche of $4.5 million includes a “Global Wind Organization” safety program that would cost $3 million; $1 million would go toward technical training program on wind turbines, $50,000 toward a workforce training program connecting New Jersey students with the industry, and $200,000 toward high schools, universities and colleges, labor unions and technical schools for creating a pipeline into that industry.
Another $1.25 million will go toward financing for early-stage cleantech companies.
Tim Sullivan, head of the NJEDA, said those kinds of projects are vital to kick-starting the state economy and reversing the deep recession brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Clean energy is the future and positioning New Jersey to lead the way in offshore wind and other clean energy initiatives is crucial not only to growing our state’s economy, but also to creating good jobs and business opportunities for workers and business owners in New Jersey,” he said in a Wednesday morning statement.
State officials said the entire funding will be given out by mid-2021.