BPU application process opens for offshore wind developers

Gov. Chris Christie today announced the opening of the Board of Public Utilities application process for prospective developers of offshore wind projects to be located in New Jersey waters. Christie said in a release, “The wind power movement is providing us with a unique opportunity to advance energy as industry. By doing so, we have the ability to leverage our tremendous resources with ground-breaking technologies, allowing New Jersey to increase its use of renewable energy sources while advancing an industry that will lead to long term job creation.”

Christie has worked with federal agencies to speed implementation of 1,000 MW of wind turbines; joined with the federal government and fellow East Coast states to establish the Offshore Wind Consortium to promote commercial wind development on the Outer Continental Shelf of the East Coast; and has provided “areas of interest” to the U.S. Department of the Interior which this week issued a “call for nominations” for wind project leases off the Jersey coast, which could lead to construction of wind farms that would make New Jersey a leader in offshore wind energy.

In addition, the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act signed by  Christie last year provides financial incentives and tax credits to businesses that construct manufacturing, assembly and water access facilities that support qualified offshore wind projects. It also authorized creation of an Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Certificate (“OREC”) program and rules that developers must follow to obtain BPU approval, and to receive ORECs.

Under these rules, developers are required to submit an application during the application cycle. Once an application is submitted, BPU staff will certify the completeness of the application, at which time the 180-day period to review the application will begin.

Other application information to be submitted for consideration includes: a detailed description of the project, construction plans, financing methods and analysis; proposed OREC pricing methods; a cost-benefit analysis; and operations, maintenance and safety plans. The cost-benefit analysis must demonstrate positive economic and environmental net benefits to the State.

An applicant’s cost-benefit analysis must provide three types of information:

1. An analysis of the potential impacts upon electricity rates of residential and industrial customers, over the life of the project.

2. Impacts on income, employment, wages, indirect business taxes, and output, with a particular emphasis on in-state manufacturing employment; and

3. Net environmental effects of the project.

Applicants must also demonstrate financial integrity and sufficient access to capital to allow for a reasonable expectation of project completion.

The application window, approved this afternoon by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU), begins May 16 and closes on June 14, 2011.

  BPU application process opens for offshore wind developers