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NJ Accelerates Schedule for Fifth Offshore Wind Project Bids

NJ Accelerates Schedule for Fifth Offshore Wind Project Bids

By Vince Conti

Wind farm option
Masha Basova/Shutterstock.com

In November, Gov. Phil Murphy directed the Board of Public Utilities to accelerate the fourth offshore wind bid solicitation, with an expectation of launching it in early 2024. The BPU complied.

Now Murphy and the BPU have announced the acceleration of the state’s fifth solicitation, moving it from the third quarter of 2026 to the second quarter of 2025.

When the Danish firm Orsted abruptly withdrew in October from its two projects off the coast of Cape May County, the state’s plans for offshore wind capacity by 2035 were adversely affected. Instead of changing the goal, Murphy has doubled down on offshore wind, with new solicitations and accelerated schedules.

Orsted was the selected firm for Ocean Wind 1 as part of the first solicitation for wind farm development in 2019.

As part of the BPU’s second solicitation, Atlantic Shores South received an award in 2021. With the federal filing this month of a final environmental impact statement favorable to the project, Atlantic Shores South is positioned to be the state’s first large-scale wind farm development, with a go-ahead for construction expected this year.

In its third offshore wind bid solicitation, New Jersey selected Leading Light Wind and Attentive Energy Two for a project to produce 3.8 gigawatts in renewable wind energy. The award was made in January.

And on May 1, the BPU launched its fourth solicitation, to award a project for between 1.2 and 4.0 gigawatts of generation capacity. Proposals will be accepted by July 10.

With the acceleration of the fifth solicitation, Murphy is sticking to a goal of 100% clean energy by 2035, with offshore wind’s contribution an expected 11 gigawatts of capacity by 2040. On announcing the changed schedule for the fifth solicitation, Murphy said, “Offshore wind development remains a once-in-a-generation opportunity that will result in significant economic and environmental benefits throughout the Garden State.”

In related news, the Murphy administration announced the state had settled its claims against Orsted arising out of the Danish firm’s withdrawal from its commitment to the development of Ocean Wind 1 and Ocean Wind 2. The state will receive $125 million.

Murphy said, “The funds will be used to support investments in qualified wind energy facilities, investments in offshore wind component manufacturing facilities, and other clean energy programs to achieve the state’s clean energy goals under the Energy Master Plan.”

When Orsted withdrew in October an angry Murphy promised to recover $300 million from the wind farm developer. The settlement announcement leaves that promise $175 million short, as New Jersey Assembly Republicans reminded the governor with a post calling the original deal with Orsted and Murphy’s persistence with the offshore wind initiative “a whale of a bad deal.”

Murphy’s announcement was criticized from the left as well. Jeff Tittel, former president of the New Jersey Sierra Club, called the settlement with Orsted a sellout.

In a statement, former Senate President Steve Sweeney, a candidate for governor in 2025, said it was unrealistic to expect the state to get the entire $300 million. He thought the settlement reasonable.

Orsted has not offered any clue as to its intentions with its lease areas off the Cape May County coast.

Contact the reporter, Vince Conti, at vconti@cmcherald.com.

Reporter

Vince Conti is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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