The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) has voted unanimously to open the application window for the state’s second solicitation of offshore wind capacity. 

This second solicitation seeks to award between 1,200 MW and 2,400 MW of offshore wind energy, potentially tripling the state’s committed capacity from 1,100 MW to 3,500 MW. This represents a significant milestone toward achieving Governor Phil Murphy’s goal of 7,500 MW of offshore wind energy in New Jersey by 2035.

“Developing New Jersey’s offshore wind industry will bring thousands of good-paying jobs and millions of dollars in economic development to our state to aid our economic recovery from COVID-19,” says Murphy. “This second solicitation not only reinforces our commitment to fighting climate change and achieving 100% clean energy by 2050, but it secures New Jersey’s foothold in the growing U.S. offshore wind industry.”

In addition to the solicitation, the board approved the final New Jersey Offshore Wind Strategic Plan, the state’s comprehensive roadmap for achieving 7,500 MW of offshore wind energy by 2035. The plan was developed by Ramboll U.S. Corp. through an extensive public stakeholder process. It presents recommendations on establishing an offshore wind industry that achieves net economic benefits and gives New Jersey residents the best overall value, while also protecting the environment and commercial and recreational fishing interests, and mitigating the impacts of climate change.

While developing the state’s offshore wind resources, NJBPU will continue to coordinate with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to identify and prioritize the research and monitoring needs of this nascent industry. Ongoing habitat surveys, as well as fish and wildlife studies, will provide critical data on New Jersey’s diverse and ecologically valuable natural resources, and how new offshore industries can support them.

In opening the second solicitation, the board put forth its Second Solicitation Guidance Document, which was developed through a robust public stakeholder process and provides the solicitation’s mechanics and timeline, project application requirements and evaluation criteria. The application window opens on Sept. 10, and closes on Dec. 10. The board anticipates awarding the resulting offshore wind projects in June 2021.

On track with Murphy’s proposed solicitation schedule, NJBPU will vote in 2022 to open a third solicitation for offshore wind of at least 1,200 MW. Solicitations will open every two years until 2028.

For more information about New Jersey’s offshore wind program, click here.

Photo: Murphy delivering an address in Trenton, N.J.

This post appeared first on North American Windpower.

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