The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) recently released its first annual report on the development of offshore wind in New Jersey (the Report). The Report comes one year after Governor Phil Murphy released Executive Order No. 8, which directed the BPU and other agencies to implement the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act (OWEDA).

OWEDA was enacted in 2010, and Gov. Murphy has made advancing offshore wind development a priority in his administration. In addition to releasing Executive Order No. 8 on May 23, 2018, the governor signed a new clean energy bill into law, which, among other things, established offshore wind renewable energy credits (ORECs) to encourage offshore wind development in the state. The previous absence of an OREC program was believed to be one of the reasons OWEDA failed to spur offshore wind development.

The Report highlights New Jersey’s accomplishments in offshore wind since the release of Executive No. 8, which include

  • the establishment of an interagency taskforce on offshore wind to continue the implementation of OWEDA and facilitate the development of offshore wind development in New Jersey;
  • the adoption of a proposed OREC funding mechanism by the BPU on December 18, 2018;
  • the launch of a New Jersey Offshore Wind Strategic Plan, which will address the actions necessary to attain the state’s ambitious 3,500 megawatt (MW) goal of offshore wind by 2030, and which is expected to be released in the coming months;
  • the state’s first offshore wind solicitation for 1,100 MW, which resulted in three bids (results pending);
  • the announcement of two additional 1,200 MW solicitations, which are expected to occur in 2020 and 2022; and
  • the opening of New Jersey’s Offshore Wind Tax Credit Program.

In the year-ahead, the BPU is expected to announce the winner(s) of the 2018 solicitation, release the Offshore Wind Strategic Plan (along with an updated 2019 Energy Master Plan addressing offshore wind development), and provide more details on future solicitations.