Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credit Program:
On Monday May 16, 2010, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities announced and confirmed that they have begun accepting applications for offshore wind projects in state waters. Applications must be received by or before June 14, 2011.
Under the recently adopted Offshore Renewable Energy Credit regulations, applications will enter a six-month review process after they have been received and deemed administratively complete.
Fishermen's Energy, the developer spearheading an effort to build a windfarm in New Jersey state waters off of Cape May, NJ, has announced that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has issued the major environmental permits to build its demonstration-scale six turbine Fishermen's Atlantic City Windfarm to be located in New Jersey State waters off the coast of Atlantic City.
In a May 6, 2011 press release, Fishermen’s Energy announced that they have now received approval from the New Jersey State House Commission for a Green Acres permit and the Tidelands Council for an electric line easement and turbine locations license required to build its demonstration-scale six turbine Fishermen's Atlantic City Windfarm. These were the remaining State permits required for the project to
This wind energy project will be located in New Jersey State waters off the coast of Atlantic City. Fishermen’s Energy also announced the completion of a year of pre-construction avian and marine mammal monitoring, keeping the project on target for a Fall 2012 commissioning.
Earlier this spring, NJ DEP issued the project's CAFRA Individual Permit, Waterfront Development Permit and Water Quality Certificate after technical, legal, and staff review of the project application and after a public notice and comment period which garnered only positive support from a variety of stakeholders.
Despite strong support from Maryland's Governor O'Malley, the Maryland legislature has decided to shelve proposed legislation which would have required state utilities to enter into power purchase agreements with offshore wind generation facilities to be developed off of Maryland's coastline.
Supporters of the legislation, entitled the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act, hope to reintroduce the proposed law again early next year.
On May 10, 2011, the Associated Press reported that Virginia Utility Dominion Power announced that it will not include offshore wind as part of its generation portfolio until that offshore wind power becomes cost-competitive with traditional forms of generation. Dominion issued this statement in response to the launch of VA4Wind, a consortium of environmental and green economy offshore wind energy advocates.
“The costs must become competitive with other conventional or renewable forms of generation for the technology to be chosen,” Jim Norvelle, a Dominion spokesman, wrote in an e-mail to the Associated Press. “Dominion continues to pursue cost reduction options and would put plans in place to build when it is cost effective to do so.”
On April 19, 2011, Republican State Sen. Fletcher Hartsell filed a bill in the North Carolina legislature entitled An Act to Encourage the Development of the State's Offshore Wind Energy Resources and to Attract Jobs and Economic Development. The bill was filed just short of the deadline for bills that can be considered during the current legislative session.
The Hartsell bill, which follows (but does not replicate) both New Jersey's 2010 Offshore Wind Economic Development Act and the now-shelved Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act, requires the North Carolina Utilities Commission to issue regulations mandating that state utilities enter into power purchase agreements for up to 2,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy. The legislation stipulates that the offshore wind generation facilities would be built over a period of seven to ten years, and requires the first project to begin producing power by Dec. 31, 2017. The legislation also sets the goal of building 5,000 megawatts of offshore nameplate capacity by 2030.
The regulations issued by the State Utilities Commission pursuant to the bill set forth a series of aggressive deadlines in order to meet the 2017 project completion date:
January 1, 2012: The Commission must issue a request for proposals soliciting bids from offshore wind project developers.
April 30, 2012: Responses to the RFP from potential project developers are due.
October 31, 2012: The Commission must review the Responses and award bids.
The statements and views expressed in the postings on the Ocean & Offshore Energy Projects and Policy Blog are my own and do not reflect those of Nixon Peabody LLP. This Blog does not provide specific legal advice. Reading or visiting this Blog does not create an attorney client relationship. This Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.