New Jersey plans to restart offshore wind in 2024; calls 2023 a “bump in the road”

Following on from the move by the state of New York last week to open solicitations for new offshore wind projects, with some rules being relaxed. the Governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, is also now looking to restart his state’s offshore wind programmes.

The state said the governor’s action reaffirmed its overall commitment to achieving 100% clean energy by 2035 and developing the economy by building the industry and its supporting supply chain.

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) has been directed by the governor to accelerate the timeline of the state’s fourth offshore wind solicitation, which was originally scheduled for the summer of 2024. On November 29th Governor Murphy directed NJBPU to launch the next offshore wind solicitation in early 2024.

“I have directed the BPU to take this action in recognition of the strong future of New Jersey’s offshore wind industry,” said Governor Murphy. “New Jersey can – and will – continue to remain a burgeoning offshore wind development hub that attracts new projects and their accompanying economic and environmental benefits for generations to come.”

These statements came after an awkward period during H2 2023, when Ørsted cancelled the Ocean Wind 1 and Ocean Wind 2 projects as financially non-viable.

Murphy called this “a bump in the road.”

Ocean Wind 1 was to have been the largest wind farm in the United States with 1.1 GW of power, had received federal approval in July 2023 and was due to complete by 2026. Ocean Wind, of a comparable size, was to have followed. Ørsted cancelled both projects at the end of October, citing rising costs and development problems.

New Jersey hopes to solicit at least 1.2 GW of power in the next round, but the governor did not set a specific start date. Also, the state has not discussed if, like New York and Rhode Island, it would be adapting the structure of the bids to address the financial and supply concerns that have emerged during 2023.

Last week, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management approved another large wind farm, Empire Wind, which will be built off New Jersey but with the power being sold to New York.