The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) has unanimously approved an order opening an application window for 1,100 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind capacity.
The NJBPU's action will allow developers seeking to build offshore wind facilities in federal waters to submit applications for approval. The application window begins on 20 September and closes on 28 December 2018.
The board intends to act on the applications by 1 July 2019, which should provide sufficient time for developers to qualify for federal investment tax credits that expire at the end of next year. These credits could save New Jersey ratepayers approximately 12 percent of the total project cost.
The NJBPU will issue a Guidance Document as part of the release of the Board Order that helps developers calculate net economic benefits. The Guidance Document also provides the formats to be used for submittal of the information required under the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act (OWEDA), as well as the evaluation criteria and the solicitation schedule. The timeline provides key dates including the Technical Bidder’s Conference and meetings with Rate Counsel and NJBPU staff.
As part of New Jersey’s offshore wind program, the NJBPU proposed a rule at its July meeting that would enact an Offshore Wind Energy Certificate (OREC) funding mechanism that establishes how an offshore wind project is funded and how revenues earned from the project would flow back to ratepayers.
The OREC rule proposal was published in the New Jersey Register on 20 August and public comment will be accepted until 19 October.
The 1,100MW is the nation’s largest single-state solicitation of offshore wind to date and is the first step in meeting the state’s goal of 3,500MW of offshore wind by 2030.
The vote occurred just days after Governor Phil Murphy called on the NJBPU to open two additional 1,200 MW solicitations of offshore wind capacity—one in 2020 and another in 2022.