BPU opens 3rd offshore wind solicitation, seeks to award 1.2-4 GW of capacity

Award would keep N.J. on track to reach Murphy’s goal of 11 GW of offshore wind by 2040

offshore windmill park with stormy clouds and a blue sky, windmill park in the ocean. Netherlands Europe

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities voted this week to open the application window for the state’s third solicitation of offshore wind capacity — an effort to award between 1.2 gigawatts and 4 GW of offshore wind capacity, it said.

The solicitation builds on the previously awarded 3.75 GW — and potentially keeps the state on track to achieve Gov. Phil Murphy’s goal of 11 GW of offshore wind energy in New Jersey by 2040.

Creating 11 GW of offshore wind energy could power 3.2 million homes with renewable energy, the administration said.

The application window, which opened Monday, closes June 23. The BPU anticipates that it will make a decision on the submitted applications by the end of 2023, it said.

In opening the third solicitation, the board also issued its Third 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.

Environmental support

New Jersey Wind Works, a coalition of environmental advocates, faith and labor leaders, is applauding efforts by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to continue offshore wind development in the state.

The group — the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, New Jersey Environmental Lobby, Anglers for Offshore Wind, Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions, New Jersey Sustainable Business Council, UU Faith Action, Waterspirit, New Jersey Conservation Foundation, Great Egg Harbor River Council Association, Pinelands Preservation Alliance, N.J. Audubon and GreenFaith Alliance — expressed overwhelming support for continued responsible development of offshore wind in New Jersey.

The BPU is recommending that any projects selected in the third solicitation contribute funding to the Research and Monitoring Initiative, which identifies, prioritizes and funds projects in regional research and monitoring of marine and coastal resources before and during offshore wind development, construction, operation and maintenance, and decommissioning, as recommended in the New Jersey Offshore Wind Strategic Plan.

As part of the NJBPU’s second offshore wind energy solicitation, Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind and Ocean Wind committed $10,000 per megawatt of project-size-awarded capacity — or approximately $26.5 million — to fund regional research and monitoring to assess the impacts of offshore wind on New Jersey’s natural resources.

In 2019, the board made an award from its first offshore wind solicitation to Ørsted’s 1.1 GW Ocean Wind project, the largest single-project award in the country at that time. In 2021, the Board made its second and third awards to Ocean Wind II for 1.1 GW of offshore wind capacity and Atlantic Shores for 1.5 GW of offshore wind capacity. To date, the board has awarded 3.75 GW of offshore wind capacity.  The three projects will inject $4.7 billion into New Jersey’s economy and create over 10,000 jobs — over 70,000 full-time equivalent job-years.

Murphy applauded the announcement.

“Today marks a pivotal next step toward accomplishment of our offshore wind development goals,” he said. “Offshore wind constitutes a crucial component of our journey to 100% clean energy by 2035, a benchmark that solidifies our position at the national forefront of climate action. In addition to safeguarding our communities from the worsening impacts of climate change, this emerging industry will generate thousands of good-paying jobs and economic opportunity across the state.”

BPU President Joseph Fiordaliso agreed.

“New Jersey continues to back up our bold climate goals with concrete action as a leader in the clean energy transition,” he said. “As we continue to take major, historic steps forward to meet Gov. Murphy’s new goal of 100% clean energy by 2035, today’s actions will not only help us fight the ravages of climate change, but represent another investment in bolstering our local union workforce, ensuring our families and communities reap the benefits of our clean energy transition.”