Will the Garden State one day be known as the Offshore Wind State? New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie recently signed into law a piece of legislation known as the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act, which is aimed at growing and strengthening the state’s economy by utilizing and promoting energy initiatives.
This bipartisan measure will establish an offshore wind renewable energy certificate program (OREC) and make financial assistance and tax credits available for businesses that construct manufacturing, assemblage and water access facilities to support the development of qualified offshore wind projects. The legislation was created with an eye towards spurring economic growth through the development of renewable energy resources and the creation of green jobs in New Jersey.
Sponsored primarily by Senator Stephen M. Sweeney (D-Salem, Cumberland, Gloucester) and Senator Thomas H. Kean, Jr. (R-Essex, Morris, Somerset), the bill directs the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to develop an offshore renewable energy certificate program that calls for a percentage of electricity sold in the state to be generated exclusively via offshore wind. (This percentage is designed to support the development of at least 1,100 megawatts from qualified projects.) It also directs the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) to provide financial assistance to qualified offshore wind projects and associated equipment manufacturers and assembling facilities in support of that goal.
“The Offshore Wind Economic Development Act will provide New Jersey with an opportunity to leverage our vast resources and innovative technologies to allow businesses to engage in new and emerging sectors of the energy industry,” said Governor Christie, in a statement. “Developing New Jersey’s renewable energy resources and industry is critical to our state’s manufacturing and technology future. My Administration will maintain a strong commitment to utilizing energy as industry in our efforts to make our State a home for growth, as well as a national leader in the windpower [sic] movement.”