TRENTON – Today, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) officially announced that it is inviting bids for 1,100 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind power development – enough to power more than 350,000 homes. This first solicitation positions New Jersey to be a leader in responsibly developed offshore wind in the United States. The BPU announcement comes just four days after Gov. Murphy addressed the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco where he laid out his plan to have 3500 MW generated by 2030, including a call for future solicitations of 1,200 MW in 2020 and 2022, in addition to today’s 1100 MW.
“New Jersey Audubon (NJA) is excited that the BPU is continuing the process to bring responsibly developed offshore wind to our state,” said Eric Stiles, President and CEO of New Jersey Audubon. “We look forward to continuing our work with the administration to ensure New Jersey is taking all possible actions to fight climate change and sea level rise, while also respecting and protecting wildlife and habitat.”
In January, Gov. Murphy delivered on a campaign promise by signing Executive Order 8, directing the state to develop an Offshore Wind Master Plan for reaching 3,500 MW of offshore wind power by 2030, and followed in May by singing legislation that codified this nation-leading commitment into law. Gov. Murphy’s January order included instructions for wildlife protection, specifically stating that the Plan will “focus on critical components of offshore wind development, including job growth, workforce development, data collection, and appropriate determination of facilities, as well as ensuring that natural resources are protected.” Additionally, the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act of 2010, requires environmental impacts to be included in a cost-benefit analysis submitted to the BPU as part of any offshore wind application, as well as a detailed analysis of all environmental impacts anticipated as a result of the project.
“Climate change is one of the greatest threats facing both humans and wildlife, especially in coastal states like New Jersey, and with continued inaction at the Federal level, the burden to reduce greenhouse gases by investing in responsibly developed renewable energy sources falls to states,” said Drew Tompkins, Policy Manager, New Jersey Audubon. “NJA supports Gov. Murphy’s desire to aggressively increase renewable energy in New Jersey and will continue to work with the administration to ensure proper citing and timing of construction to minimize the impacts on wildlife, habitat, and other natural resources.”
About NJA: New Jersey Audubon is a privately supported, not-for profit, statewide membership organization. Founded in 1897, and one of the oldest independent Audubon societies, New Jersey Audubon fosters environmental awareness and a conservation ethic among New Jersey’s citizens; protects New Jersey’s birds, mammals, other animals, and plants, especially endangered and threatened species; and promotes preservation of New Jersey’s valuable natural habitats. Find out more at njaudubon.org.