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(PAULSBORO) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Upendra J. Chivukula, John J. Burzichelli, John F. McKeon and Valerie Vainieri Huttle to promote offshore wind power and the economic growth it would bring to New Jersey was signed into law Thursday at the Paulsboro Marine Terminal.
The landmark law (A-2873), known as the “Offshore Wind Economic Development Act,” establishes an offshore wind renewable energy certificate program and authorizes the Economic Development Authority to provide up to $100 million in tax credits for wind energy facilities.
“New Jersey, through progressive policies and initiatives, has made itself a leader in clean energy technology, and we have to make sure we don’t lose that edge,” said Chivukula (D-Somerset/Middlesex), who has spearheaded several clean energy initiatives. “Offshore wind is a key part of the future, and we need to make sure New Jersey is well positioned to benefit from this emerging technology and the economic growth it will bring.”
New Jersey was recently among 10 states to sign an agreement establishing an Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium to help facilitate federal-state cooperation for commercial wind development on the Outer Continental Shelf off of the Atlantic coast.
“This is an important economic development law, not only for places like the Paulsboro Marine Terminal, but all of New Jersey,” said Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem). “Offshore wind projects would create significant economic development and environmental benefits for the state, but those benefits must be balanced with the cost and the overall impact upon the state. This law ensures that developing offshore wind projects provides positive benefits both economically and environmentally for New Jersey.”
The law directs the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to develop an offshore wind renewable energy certificate program to require that a percentage of electricity sold in the state be from offshore wind energy.
This percentage will be developed to support at least 1,100 megawatts of generation from qualified offshore wind projects.
“If we are serious about moving our state and our country off of our reliance on fossil fuels, then we must make serious investments in alternative and renewable energy Dests, as this law does,” said McKeon (D-Essex). “Our economic and environmental futures depend on smart planning and investment in the present.”
“This law will help provide the state with the short-term economic boost it needs to help us more quickly recover from the recession,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “And it will provide the long-term economic and environmental stability New Jersey needs to generate green jobs and remain a leader in clean energy technology.”
The law authorizes the BPU to accept applications for qualified offshore wind projects and sets forth the criteria to be used by the BPU in reviewing the applications. As defined by the law, qualified offshore wind project means a wind turbine electricity generation facility located in the Atlantic Ocean and connected to the electric transmission system in this state.
The bill designates elements that the BPU must consider in its review, including a recognition of the total subsidy to be paid by ratepayers over the life of the proposed project and whether a cost-benefit analysis of the proposed project demonstrates a net positive benefit to the state.
“The law is designed to provide the BPU with the flexibility necessary to develop procedures to ensure the development of offshore wind energy in a cost-effective and state-beneficial manner,’ Chivukula said.
“The law also authorizes the EDA to provide financial assistance to qualified offshore wind projects and associated equipment manufacturers and assembling facilities to promote economic development in the state,” Burzichelli said.
Lastly, it authorizes the EDA to provide up to $100 million in tax credits for the development of qualified wind energy facilities in wind energy zones.