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The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has unanimously approved opening a solicitation for 1,100 MW of offshore wind capacity. This is largest single-state solicitation of offshore wind in the USA to date.
The Board’s action will allow developers seeking to build offshore wind facilities in federal waters to submit applications for approval. The application window begins on 20 September 2018 and closes on 28 December 2018.
The Board intends to evaluate all applications by 1 July 2019, which should provide sufficient time for developers to qualify for federal investment tax credits that expire at the end of next year. It is estimated that these credits would save New Jersey ratepayers approximately 12% of total project costs.
The solicitation is the first step to meeting the state’s goal of 3,500 MW of offshore wind by 2030. This vote comes just days after the State Governor's announcement of a deployment schedule for the full 3,500 MW, with two additional 1,200 MW offshore wind solicitations to be held in 2020 and 2022, subject to the Board's approval.
The state currently does not have any offshore wind projects in operation or in development. Although, earlier this month, the Board of Public Utilities accepted an application for a 25 MW pilot project from EDF Renewables and Fishermen’s Energy. The Nautilus wind farm is proposed to comprise three turbines installed approximately 4.5km east of the coastline of Atlantic City.
Furthermore, the state's potential for offshore wind development is well-acknowledged. In December 2017, prolific international developer Ørsted contracted geo-intelligence provider Fugro to survey a potential development site off the state's Atlantic coast for a potential 1000 MW offshore wind project.
Similar tenders recently held in nearby north-east, Atlantic coast states attracted industry leaders and competitive proposals. Authorities in Massachusetts and Rhode Island sanctioned the development of 1.2 MW offshore wind capacity in May, while the state government of Connecticut procured its first offshore wind project in June. New Jersey is thus following a regional trend and capitalizing on the evident demand for capacity.