State to launch 4th solicitation for offshore wind in early 2024

When Ørsted announced at the end of October that it was pulling away from its offshore wind commitments in New Jersey, many thought the industry was on the verge of collapse.

It doesn’t appear that way.

On Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Phil Murphy said the state would launch New Jersey’s fourth offshore wind solicitation in early 2024. The awards are expected in early 2025.

The announcement comes before the state has completed its third offshore wind solicitation. A decision on those bids is expected by early 2024.

In making the announcement, the governor said he is reaffirming the state’s commitment to achieving a 100% clean energy economy by 2035. Murphy has given the state a goal of 11 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2040, which would be enough to power 3.2 million homes with renewable energy.

“I have directed the (New Jersey Board of Public Utilities) to take this action in recognition of the strong future of New Jersey’s offshore wind industry,” he said. “New Jersey can — and will — continue to remain a burgeoning offshore wind development hub that attracts new projects and their accompanying economic and environmental benefits for generations to come.”

The state is waiting for Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind to make its final investment decision. The company was awarded an offshore wind project in 2021.

Murphy clearly is anticipating that it will go through — not only bringing clean energy, but additional jobs connected to the state’s clean energy economy, including the critical importance of the state’s supply chain facilities to the regional offshore wind industry.

“These new projects, along with the Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind project awarded in 2021, will support tens of thousands of good-paying, family-sustaining jobs for New Jerseyans while protecting the quality of the air our children breathe and making good on the promise of affordable clean energy produced right here in the Garden State,” Murphy said.

NJBPU President Christine Guhl-Sadovy obviously was thrilled by the announcement.

“Offshore wind is vital to our clean energy economy and our efforts to mitigate climate change, and we are resolute in our efforts to ensure New Jersey realizes its benefits,” she said.

Ørsted, in an announcement earlier this year that seemingly caught the state off guard, canceled the Ocean Wind 1 offshore wind project scheduled to begin construction in 2024 as well as Ocean Wind 2.