BPU releases RFI asking developers for comments on prebuild

Here we go again.

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities announced Friday afternoon that it is again starting a process for a transmission infrastructure project when it released a Request for Information regarding the state’s third offshore wind solicitation.

The RFI stems directly from the order the BPU released Wednesday, when it announced the winner of the first part of its SAA, or state agreement approach.

In that order, the BPU selected the Larrabee Tri-Collector Solution project by Mid-Atlantic Offshore Development and Jersey Central Power & Light that creates a new onshore substation in Howell that will help connect offshore wind energy to the power grid.

This RFI involves the prebuild that came out of that order, a project the notice says will require a single offshore wind developer to construct the necessary transmission infrastructure (this includes duct banks and access cable vaults, for its own project as well as the additional project[s], up to four total cables) needed to fully utilize the SAA capability made available as a result of the Larrabee Tri-Collector Solution.

In essence, the BPU is looking to build the portal that will carry energy from offshore wind farms from the shoreline to the Larrabee substation.

The BPU said it is seeking stakeholder responses to a number of questions to inform that process relative to last Wednesday’s decision — and relative to considering a requirement that would allow projects to connect to a future mesh offshore network.

Stakeholders are invited to answer any or all of the questions and are not required to respond to any specific questions.

The BPU noted it welcomes as much technical detail as stakeholders wish to provide, but it does not expect stakeholders to conduct technical studies to support stakeholder responses.

The BPU said deadline for comments on this RFI is 5 p.m. Nov. 14. BPU staff is planning to issue the draft solicitation guidance document, or SGD, for stakeholder comments in late November 2022, with a stakeholder meeting to be held in December 2022 and written comments due approximately one month after issuance of the draft SGD.