New Jersey legislators have passed a bill forcing regulators to reconsider Fishermen’s Energy’s 25MW Atlantic City offshore wind project.
The legislation requires the state Board of Public Utilities to reopen applications and approve a qualified wind project, as well as exempt it from cost benefit analysis.
The board has twice rejected the proposal, saying the wind project is too costly for ratepayers and that the proponent failed to demonstrate its financial integrity.
The bill has still to be signed into law by governor Chris Christie.
The Christie government established the ‘offshore wind energy development act’ five years ago, but has dragged its heels ever since, to the disappointment of developers and environmental groups.
New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel said: “The failure of the Christie administration to adopt rules for offshore wind or hold up projects like Fishermen’s Energy has cost New Jersey jobs and economic investments.”
The 2010 law directs the board to develop an offshore renewable energy certificate programme to support at least 1100MW of offshore wind generation.
Fishermen’s this year switched to Siemens turbines from XEMC machines to try to win regulatory approval.
The reconfigured pilot will employ six Siemens 4MW geared units installed three miles offshore in state waters.
The $220m demonstration scheme is one of three projects awarded $47m in federal funding, to be doled out over four years.
The Energy Department has extended a milestone deadline to May 2016 for the projects to finalize power offtake deals and qualify for ongoing funding.
Image: Fishermen's Energy met buoy on station off Atlantic City (Fishermen's Energy)