New Jersey's utility regulator has given the green light to two offshore wind power projects, totaling 3,742 megawatts (MW), with backing from companies like Invenergy and TotalEnergies.
The move is seen as a significant stride toward Governor Phil Murphy's target of achieving 100 percent clean energy by 2035, as per the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU), stating, “Today's action moves New Jersey closer to achieving Governor Phil Murphy's goal of reaching 100 percent clean energy by 2035.” The BPU highlighted that the projects would inject approximately $6.8 billion into the state's economy and generate enough energy for about 1.8 million homes.
Recognizing the crucial role of offshore wind in meeting decarbonization and climate change objectives, the industry faced challenges last year as developers scrapped contracts in multiple states due to factors such as inflation, interest rate hikes, and disruptions in the supply chain, escalating project costs.
The recent approvals stem from New Jersey's third solicitation for offshore wind, aiming for a power capacity range of 1,200 to 4,000 MW. The state's broader ambition is to achieve approximately 11,000 MW of offshore wind power by 2040. The BPU approved the 1,342-MW Attentive Energy Two project and the 2,400-MW Leading Light project as qualified for offshore wind renewable energy certificates (ORECs).
In the words of the BPU, “The total electrical bill impact of the two projects for residential customers will be $6.84 per month, beginning once these offshore wind facilities are operational and delivering clean electricity to the New Jersey grid.” This assurance comes alongside the regulator's commitment to a transparent billing structure.
The Attentive Energy Two project, a collaboration between units of TotalEnergies and Corio Generation, gained approval, as did the Leading Light project, expected to commence power generation in 2031. Leading Light represents a partnership between U.S. energy firms Invenergy and energyRe.
Invenergy CEO Michael Polsky emphasized the industry's resilience, stating, “The industry hasn't disappeared, the industry is moving forward.” He highlighted Leading Light as the first U.S. offshore wind project backed by American companies to secure a competitive contract.
Last October, Danish energy firm Orsted, the world's largest offshore wind company, canceled two offshore wind farms off New Jersey due to inflation, interest rate hikes, and delays in securing construction vessels. Following this, Governor Murphy directed the BPU to expedite the state's fourth offshore wind solicitation, with project awards anticipated in early 2025.