On January 31, 2018, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order setting the state on track to develop 3,500 megawatts (“MW”) of offshore wind power by 2030. This target is among the most ambitious in the country and has the potential to power 1.5 million homes. This order follows New York’s recent issuance of a master plan to develop the means to build 2,400 MW of offshore wind energy by 2030.
Gov. Murphy’s order revives legislation signed into law in 2010 by then-Gov. Chris Christie, which would allow for an Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credit (“OREC”) program to enable financing of offshore wind projects that benefit the state. Under the order, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (“BPU”) is to begin the rulemaking process to fully implement the OREC program. Additionally, the BPU president and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection commissioner are to establish an Offshore Wind Strategy Plan for the state. These foundations will then support a solicitation calling for the generation of 1,100 MW by offshore wind projects.
Gov. Murphy touted New Jersey’s commitment to growing its clean energy sector and offshore wind “in a way that creates jobs and reduces our dependence on fossil fuels.”
During his campaign, Gov. Murphy had announced his intention to create a new State Energy Master Plan within his first 100 days in office, with the intent to set New Jersey on a path to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. According to then-candidate Murphy, in addition to setting this ambitious offshore wind target, the State Energy Master Plan would include rejoining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (“RGGI”), prioritizing solar energy expansion, establishing New Jersey as a leader in clean energy storage with a goal of 600 MW of storage by 2021 and 2000 MW of storage by 2030, and increasing funding and market incentives for energy efficiency.
Gov. Murphy’s order followed two days after his announcement to re-enter RGGI, which former Gov. Christie had exited in 2011, and signals the Governor’s commitment to a clean energy future for the state and for the region. The order further instructs BPU to engage with neighboring states to explore regional collaboration on the development of offshore wind power and other strategies to address climate change.