New Jersey lawmakers have resurrected a bill designed to help Fishermen’s Energy build the 24MW Atlantic City offshore wind demonstration project.
The proposed legislation passed the state senate Thursday by a vote of 23 to 11 and will now be considered in the lower house.
A similar bill passed both houses in the last session however Governor Chris Christie vetoed the measure in January.
New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel said: “We’re glad the legislature is standing up to the governor by working to pass this bill again to show him that the people of New Jersey are serious about wind power.”
The law would require the Board of Public Utilities to open a 30-day application window for qualified wind projects. The bill permits the board to approve a 20MW to 25MW scheme and authorize offshore wind renewable energy certificates.
The board previously rejected Fishermen’s pilot over cost and viability concerns. The project has since been reconfigured with six Siemens 4MW turbines installed three miles offshore in state waters.
The $220m demo has secured $50m in funding from the US Department of Energy but must meet certain milestones to get the full amount.
Larger projects are also in the works off New Jersey. US Wind and Dong Energy hold commercial leases for two sites with a combined 3.4GW potential.
The Christie government in 2010 directed the BPU to develop a REC programme to support at least 1100MW of offshore wind generation however the board has yet to draft regulations.
“Now is the time to make wind power a reality for New Jersey,” said Tittel.
“We have auctioned off parcels but no funding mechanism to implement the projects,” he said. “Not having financing rules in place will prevent any company from bidding on those sites from getting financing.”