NJ Governor Vetoes Latest Offshore Wind Bill

New Jersey’s governor Chris Christie yesterday returned the bill S988, which would allow Fishermen’s Energy to build its offshore wind farm off Atlantic City, to the state’s Senate without his approval.

The Senate passed the bill in March, after its predecessor (S2711), also approved by the Senate, had been dismissed by the governor.

Sponsored by senators Bob Smith and Jim Whelan, the bill required New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to provide new application periods for qualified wind energy projects.

Within 60 days of enactment into law, the bill would have required New Jersey’s BPU to provide a 30-day period for the submission of applications for certain qualified wind energy projects and, later on, to provide a submission period from time to time.

The pending version of this bill is admittedly more restrained than the version that was originally introduced last session, which would have dispensed entirely with the net benefits test for projects sited near Atlantic City. However, even in its current form, the bill still seeks to usurp BPU’s authority by compelling BPU to immediately receive applications. This is a notable departure from OWEDA, which appropriately defers to BPU to determine when it will accept applications. Accordingly, I cannot endorse a bill that would run contrary to OWEDA’s original intent by taking discretion away from BPU, the entity responsible for managing energy matters on behalf of the State. Accordingly, I am returning Senate Bill No. 988 without my approval. — New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

Following the Senate’s vote in favour of the bill, Fishermen’s Energy urged the governor to sign the bill S988, and thus open the way for job creation in the offshore wind industry.

Last year, Fishermen’s Energy modified its project proposal, after the BPU had rejected the proposed demonstration project off Atlantic City, saying it is too expensive. The $200 million project would comprise 6 Siemens 4MW turbines and would use traditional sources of project financing.

Fishermen’s Energy Atlantic City Windfarm (FACW) already has a $50 million funding agreement in place with the US Department of Energy and qualifies for the 30% Investment Tax Credit signed into law in late 2015.

Offshore WIND Staff

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