Murphy: Ørsted’s decision to pull out of N.J. calls into question its ‘credibility and competence’

Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday night publicly ripped Ørsted in no uncertain terms for pulling out of its offshore wind projects — saying it calls into question its “credibility and competence” — while also reaffirming the state’s commitment to offshore wind.

After Ørsted announced Tuesday night that it was canceling both the Ocean Wind 1 project it had said was on schedule as recently as September as well as Ocean Wind 2, Murphy released a statement in what were unusually harsh words from him.

“Today’s decision by Ørsted to abandon its commitments to New Jersey is outrageous and calls into question the company’s credibility and competence,” he said. “As recently as several weeks ago, the company made public statements regarding the viability and progress of the Ocean Wind 1 project.”

Murphy noted the state had been working with Ørsted. Ocean Wind 1 was slated to be New Jersey’s first offshore wind farm when it came online in 2025. Construction was expected to begin in 2024.

“In recognition of the challenges inherent in large and complex projects, my administration in partnership with legislative leadership insisted upon important protections that ensure New Jersey will receive $300 million to support the offshore wind sector should Ørsted’s New Jersey projects fail to proceed,” he said. “I have directed my administration to review all legal rights and remedies and to take all necessary steps to ensure that Ørsted full and immediately honors its obligations.”

Murphy, as he has previously, acknowledged the industry has been hard hit by inflation and social supply chain issues. He said he is determined to not let that slow New Jersey’s efforts in the sector.

“Ultimately, as we have seen in other states recently, offshore wind projects awarded prior to 2020 have been impacted by a combination of interest rate escalation, supply chain cost increases and inflation,” he said. “And, while today is a setback, the future of offshore wind in New Jersey remains strong. In recent weeks, we’ve seen a historically high number of bids into New Jersey’s ongoing third offshore wind solicitation, and the Board of Public Utilities will shortly announce two additional solicitations related to our first-in-the-nation State Agreement Approach to build an offshore wind transmission infrastructure.

“I remain committed to ensuring that New Jersey becomes a global leader in offshore wind — which is critical to our economic, environmental and clean energy future.”