Mazzeo & DeAngelo Bill to Advance Offshore Wind Energy Plan for Atlantic City Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Vincent Mazzeo and Wayne DeAngelo to urge the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to follow through on a plan to promote offshore wind energy in Atlantic City cleared its first legislative hurdle on Thursday.

The bill (A-3093) would require the BPU to approve a qualified wind energy project off the shores of Atlantic City and remove the requirement that an entity seeking to construct such a project submit a cost-benefit analysis to the board. Both the legislature and the governor approved a plan for the state’s first major offshore wind farm in 2010, but BPU obstruction repeatedly has caused a delay in the project moving forward.

The BPU twice has rejected a proposal from Fisherman’s Energy, a Cape-May based developer, citing excessive costs. Mazzeo, however, noted that the project, a 25-megawatt wind farm planned for construction off the Atlantic City coast, has the potential to bring more than 500 jobs to a damaged regional economy and has been approved for $47 million in federal grants.

“Whether you approach it from an economic or environmental perspective, the Fisherman’s Energy project can only strengthen New Jersey,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “We have the opportunity to make our state a leader in the wind energy industry and put men and women in the Atlantic City region back to work. It’s disappointing that the only thing that’s been standing in the way for the past four and a half years is the BPU.”

“Wind farming is the future of the energy industry,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex), who is the chair of the committee. “New Jersey has the potential to be one of the country’s leaders in the cultivation of wind energy, create jobs, decrease energy costs for customers and change the way we see the future of heating and cooling homes. The Fisherman’s Energy project must move forward.”

The bill was approved by the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee.