NJ lawmakers push for development of offshore wind farms

In this 2013 file photo  released by Marubeni Corp., a wind turbine, is seen off the coast of  northeastern Japan. (AP Photo/Marubeni Corp.)

In this 2013 file photo released by Marubeni Corp., a wind turbine, is seen off the coast of northeastern Japan. (AP Photo/Marubeni Corp.)

New Jersey lawmakers are urging the state Board of Public Utilities to adopt regulations that would help spur construction of offshore wind projects.

 

In the nearly five years since Gov. Chris Christie signed a law calling for the development of wind projects, no offshore projects have been approved.

Paul Gallagher, the chief operating officer of Fishermen’s Energy, said a wind farm the company wants to build off the Atlantic City coast would lead to larger offshore wind projects.

“Development of offshore wind projects would provide both economic and environmental benefits to the state and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels,” Gallagher said.

However, Mike Proto with Americans For Prosperity questions the economic benefit of offshore wind development.

“The pilot project off of Atlantic City has been shown by four separate analyses to cost us jobs, cost us wealth, and raise rates,” Proto said.

“Off of Atlantic City is truly a gold mine for off shore wind. It’s one of the most promising sites in the entire country,” Doug O’Malley said Monday. “Yet we can’t obviously act and reap those benefits if we’re not moving forward with the intent of the governor’s own legislation.”

Offshore wind development could help fill the energy gap when the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant shuts down in 2019, said Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, chairman of the Assembly Utilities Commission.

“That’s 675 megawatts, and, in the state of New Jersey when 51 percent of our electricity is generated by nuclear, that’s a big block of power, an enormous block of power,” said DeAngelo, D-Mercer. “So we’re looking at alternatives, and I believe wind is one option for us to strongly consider on our growth with energy.”

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