Jersey seeks firms to develop offshore wind power
Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner
Bob Martin announced that the Christie administration is issuing
a formal request for firms interested in acquiring leases through
the federal government for the construction of wind farms off
the coast of New Jersey.
The request, known as a call for nominations, is issued through
the United States Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy
Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) and is the first
step in the commercial renewable energy leasing process.
Responses will assist the federal agency in determining interest
in a proposed leasing area encompassing 418 square nautical miles
off the coast between Barnegat Light and Avalon. This leasing
area begins 7 nautical miles off the shoreline and extends up
to 23 nautical miles into the ocean, encompassing 43 entire federal
leasing blocks and parts of 34 others.
Responses will inform BOEMRE as to competitive interest for leases,
and will assist the agency in determining the next steps in the
leasing process for waters off New Jersey.
In 2009, BOEMRE issued Interim Policy leases to Deepwater Wind
LLC, Bluewater Wind New Jersey Energy LLC, and Fishermen’s Energy
of New Jersey LLC that authorize these companies to install and
operate facilities to characterize wind and environmental resources.
The Interim Policy leases do not authorize construction.
The leasing area was delineated in consultation with the New
Jersey Energy Task Force and BOEMRE, based on extensive environmental
data collected during a two-year DEP ecological baseline study
of marine and avian resources.
Under Governor Christie, the state has developed a number of
proactive laws and policies to foster the development of renewable
energy, including the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act,
which the Governor signed into law last year.
This law authorizes creation of an Offshore Wind Renewable Energy
Certificate (OREC) program and makes available financial assistance
and tax credits from existing programs for businesses that construct,
manufacture, assemble and provide water access facilities to
support the development of qualified offshore wind projects.
The state has identified nearly 500 companies that could become
involved in the development of wind power through the construction
and assembling of turbines.
The OREC program calls for a percentage of electricity sold in
the state to come from offshore wind energy. This percentage
would be developed to support at least 1,100 megawatts of generation
from qualified offshore wind projects – or enough electricity
for approximately one million homes.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recently identified the
area off New Jersey as a Wind Energy Area (WEA) under the “Smart
from the Start” program.
As such, it is eligible for study and consultation to foster
responsible and efficient leasing and development. The WEA may
be adjusted pending the results of comments and information received
in response to the call for nominations and through the environmental