Friday, October 2, 2015

NJ Dems pressing Christie to act on offshore wind farms

Democrats from New Jersey's congressional delegation are prodding the Christie administration to finalize a key funding mechanism for offshore wind energy projects in light of an impending federal auction to sell lease rights for wind farms off the New Jersey coast.

James M. O'Neill reports in The Record:    
In 2010, Governor Christie signed legislation designed to make New Jersey a leader in offshore wind energy. The bill directed the state Board of Public Utilities to develop a plan that would ensure that offshore wind farms had a buyer for the electricity they produced. It also guaranteed a purchase price that would help cover the upfront costs of building the wind farms while not being too expensive for the state's ratepayers. But five years later, the BPU has yet to finalize the mechanism.
Several members of Congress from New Jersey sent Christie a letter Wednesday urging him to get a plan in place, because the federal government recently announced it will auction off the lease rights to nearly 344,000 acres for wind farms about seven nautical miles off New Jersey.
If fully developed, the area up for lease could generate at least 3,400 megawatts of wind energy — enough to power about 1.2 million homes, according to the Department of Energy's Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Environmental groups and some Democrats in the Legislature have criticized the Christie administration for not developing the funding mechanism, saying the state is losing ground in its bid to be a leader in wind energy. This summer, a company began construction of the first offshore wind farm in the country — off Rhode Island.
 Some in the industry say the state that develops offshore wind first will benefit most from the new jobs created to support the industry, including manufacturing companies that might set up shop in-state to build the parts needed for wind turbines.

Read the full story here

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