Gov. Phil Murphy has signed legislation that directs the state Board of Public Utilities to reconsider and approve the Fisherman’s Energy offshore wind project.
The small-scale demonstration project planned for about three miles off Atlantic City previously had been rejected by the BPU, which said its electricity would be too expensive.
Fisherman’s Energy may now submit an amended application, which the board is now authorized to approve under the law, according to a news release from Assembly Democrats.
“Specifically, under current law, the board is to approve a qualified wind energy project that is located in territorial waters offshore of a municipality in which casino gaming is authorized,” the release said.
Meanwhile, Fishermen’s Energy has an agreement in principle to sell the company and its project to EDF Renewable Energy, a French company with lots of experience with offshore wind in Europe and whose U.S. headquarters is in San Diego, Chief Operating Officer Paul Gallagher has said.
“It’s exciting to bring to this project (a company) that’s built over 400 megawatts of offshore wind in Europe,” Gallagher said recently. “It has the knowledge and financial integrity to complete the project efficiently.”
Gallagher, has said the company is ready to move forward with the project, which is “fully permitted and ready to build.”
If all moves quickly at the BPU, he said the pro-ject could begin in the fall.
The legislation, signed Wednesday, was sponsored by Assembly Democrats Vince Mazzeo and John Armato, both D-Atlantic; and Wayne DeAngelo, D-Mercer, Middlesex. In the Senate it was co-sponsored by Atlantic County Republican Chris Brown.
“The Fisherman’s Energy Offshore Wind Project off the coast of Atlantic City is a ready-to-go project that can create jobs and diversify our energy portfolio,” Mazzeo said. “It’s time to get moving again to truly harness the incredible potential we have in New Jersey for offshore wind.”
“In order to get to the governor’s 3500MW goal for wind energy, we should be greenlighting projects like Fisherman’s Energy,” Armato said. “We should be looking at projects big and small to green our environment and our economy.”
The new law requires the board to provide a 90-day period for the submission of an amended application for such a project for which an original application has already been submitted. Only Fishermen’s Energy qualifies for the submission.
Fishermen’s Energy has proposed a 24-megawatt, six-turbine demonstration project three miles off the coast of Atlantic City.
In 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded the company a $47 million grant, with the stipulation that it secure a power purchaser before the end of 2016.
The company failed to finalize an agreement in time, and the grant was rescinded.
The BPU had also denied Fishermen’s Energy application two times, citing the high cost of its energy to the ratepayer.
The Legislature twice passed similar bills to A-2485, Gallagher said, but Gov. Chris Christie vetoed them.
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