New Jersey Sets Schedule for 7.5-Gigawatt Offshore Wind Procurement

Democratic Governor Phil Murphy on Feb. 28 announced the state’s offshore wind procurement schedule, which calls for the next 1.2-gigawatt solicitation to be opened by September, with an award made by the second quarter of 2021. The plan calls for four more rounds in 2022, 2024, 2026 and 2028 to achieve the state’s 7.5-gigawatt offshore wind goal by 2035. The first round resulted in the selection of Denmark-based Orsted A/S to develop a 1.1-gigawatt wind project, known as Ocean Wind, off the coast of Atlantic City. Orsted expects this first project to come online by 2024. The schedule is expected to provide a greater level of certainty for developers, equipment manufacturers, and the supply chain.

Last November, Murphy signed an executive order raising state’s offshore wind generation target to 7.5 gigawatts by 2035, more than double the previous goal of 3.5 gigawatts by 2030. The target is the second largest in the nation, next only to New York, which aims to achieve 9 gigawatts by 2035.

An executive order issued last January provided the much needed impetus for the stalled industry, paving the way for state regulators to set up rules and develop a plan to deploy 3.5 gigawatts by 2030. The state’s Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credit, or OREC, program was enacted nearly a decade ago, but was not fully implemented until then. Subsequently, New Jersey adopted a rule establishing the process to fund an offshore wind program and flowback revenue to ratepayers.

Once the new goal is attained, offshore wind power could supply power more than 3.2 million homes and meet fifty percent of the state’s electricity needs. The measure will help New Jersey meet its goal of sourcing half its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. The state’s energy master plan outlines a path to transition to zero-emitting generation by 2050.