Under an order Gov. Phil Murphy signed Tuesday morning, the administration is more than doubling how much offshore wind energy the state will be able to generate, from 3,500 to 7,500 megawatts.
Tuesday’s move – enacted under Executive Order 92 – is part of Murphy’s broader goal for the state to be 100 percent reliant on clean and renewable energy by the year 2050. The new 2035 goal for 7,500 MW will replace the prior goal of 2030.
The Murphy administration has gradually ramped up efforts to boost the offshore wind industry in the state. In June, the Board of Public Utilities approved Denmark-based Orsted’s bid to develop 1,100 MW of wind energy 15 miles off the coast of Atlantic City. That project alone, called Ocean Wind, could generate $1.17 billion of economic benefits and power 500,000 New Jersey homes once completed in 2024.
New Jersey has been in a somewhat friendly competition against New York’s offshore wind market, which under the Cuomo administration will eventually reach a capacity of 9,000 MW.
Still, a report by NJ Spotlight earlier this month highlighted a lack of agreement on how to build up the infrastructure to physically transport electricity from the turbines and into people’s homes.
The question has centered on whether developers would set up their own transmissions lines, or the state would construct a regional grid to be used by different energy companies.
“We will meet half of our electric power need,” Murphy said at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City. “We will generate billions of dollars in investments in our state’s future that will, in turn, generate thousands of union jobs.”
Murphy assured that his administration would rework the solicitation schedule, which would be “responsible… carefully increasing the amount of generation capacity to keep pace with technological innovation and anticipated market forces that will drive costs down.”
Under the prior schedule, the BPU would have gone forward with a 1,200 MW association in 2020 and another in 2022.
“The two fastest-growing jobs in this country are in solar and wind-solar installer, wind turbine technician,” former Vice President Al Gore said at the Tuesday event. “We’re seeing this trend continue. There are already twice as many jobs in New Jersey in solar as there are in natural gas and coal.”
In the months since awarding the bid to Orsted, the BPU and Economic Development Authority have adopted different programs to get more businesses involved with all aspects of the wind industry.
The EDA is overseeing a program to help assist businesses in learning wind industry standards, including professional credentials, to qualify for the right types of contracts, and provide the specific services the industry needs.
In August, Murphy signed an executive order establishing the Wind Innovation and New Development Institute to create and handle the plan for education, research and job-training in the industry.