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Ocean City Challenges BPU’s Approval of Cable Route

wind farm from above

By Vince Conti

OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Council approved a resolution Nov. 3 to hire the law firm of Cooper Levenson to appeal the September decision by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) allowing transmission lines from the Ocean Wind I offshore wind farm to onshore on city beaches and cross the municipality. 
The city’s approval of the law firm came as part of the consent agenda with no discussion by members of council. One council member, Tom Rotondi, voted no but did not provide an explanation for his vote. All other members of the council voted in the affirmative.
At the time of the BPU decision, Ocean City made clear that litigation might be the city’s next move. City officials challenged the legitimacy of a state statute that gave the BPU the authority to overrule the city’s elected governing body regarding the use of municipal land for high-voltage transmission cables. 
The intent of Ocean Wind LLC, 75% owners of the planned Ocean Wind I wind farm, is to onshore the cables at the 35th Street beach and run them underground across the city and the back bay for eventual linkage with the electrical grid at the site of the now-defunct B. L. England plant in Beesley’s Point. 
The schedule for the offshore turbine development has the wind farm beginning to provide electrical power to the grid as early as 2024. Governor Phil Murphy has even increased the goal for the offshore complex to provide 11,000 megawatts of electricity by 2040. This augmentation of the goal came before even the first turbine has been constructed. 
Ocean Wind LLC will hold a public hearing concerning the wind farm project in Ocean City on Nov. 14 at 6 pm. The hearing will be conducted remotely via Zoom and can also be accessed by phone. 

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