On Heels of Federal Proposed Sale of NJ Off-Shore Wind Leases, Report Shows The Immense Potential for Off-Shore Wind off the Jersey Shore
Trenton – On the day the Department of Interior announced the proposed sale of leases for more than 343,000 acres off the Jersey Shore for off-shore wind leasing, a new report shows New Jersey could reap tremendous environmental and economic benefits from offshore wind of the Shore according to the National Wildlife Federation’s report, Catching the Wind: State Actions Needed to Seize the Golden Opportunity of Atlantic Offshore Wind Power. The report analyzes and compares the actions by Atlantic Coast states toward progress on offshore wind, with New Jersey in the middle tier on its commitment making offshore wind a reality.
“The Atlantic Ocean is a clean energy and job-producing goldmine,” said Catherine Bowes, senior manager for climate and energy at the National Wildlife Federation. “With areas offshore that can power 5 million homes currently available for leasing, it is a critical moment for state leaders to seize this golden opportunity and create a clean energy future powered by American workers that can protect our wildlife and communities from the dangers of climate change.”
Over 1.5 million acres off the Atlantic Coast -- now including more than 343,000 acres off New Jersey’s waters which were announced today for the proposed sale of leases -- have already been designated by state and federal officials for offshore wind power development and more are being considered. These areas could produce more than 16,000 megawatts – including more than 3,400 megawatts from New Jersey alone -- of virtually pollution-free electricity. These total areas of off-shore wind development could equal as much as 16 fossil-fuel burning power plants—making offshore wind an attractive option for states developing plans to shift to clean energy to achieve the targets in Clean Power Plan, recently proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“Today’s announcement removes one more barrier to off-shore wind in New Jersey,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. “With this federal action, it makes it even more critical for the Christie Administration to move forward with the long-stalled state off-shore wind program. New Jersey’s off-shore wind potential remains immense, and can power our state with clean energy for decades to come.”
The proposed off-shore wind lease area, if fully developed, could power more than 1.2 million homes. The Wind Energy Area begins about seven nautical miles off the coast from Atlantic City (A map can be found here.)
“Today’s proposed sale notice is the first concrete step in providing significant amounts of clean, renewable offshore wind energy to New Jersey homes and businesses,” said Rep. Rush Holt (D-12). “Our state’s ample offshore wind resources, enough to power more than one million homes under this proposed sale, will enable New Jersey to maintain its position as a clean energy leader and will assist the state in achieving carbon reduction goals established under the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.”
Highlights of Catching the Wind report include:
- Areas Already Designated for Offshore Wind Development Could Power Over 5 Million American Homes. This is a massive, local clean power opportunity currently available to state energy planners with the capacity to power the equivalent of all households in New Jersey and South Carolina combined. What’s needed now is action by New Jersey’s leaders to drive offshore wind markets and spur critical project contracts forward.
- Offshore Wind Power Could Save Millions as Part of a Diverse Energy Portfolio. Diversifying New Jersey’s energy mix is critical for protecting ratepayers from price spikes in the volatile fossil fuel markets. The report highlights a new 2014 study finding a $350 million per year reduction in energy costs from adding 1,200 MW of offshore wind energy to New England’s grid.
- Offshore Wind Power Will Spark Massive Job Creation. In Europe, 70 offshore wind projects across 10 countries are currently supporting over 58,000 jobs in both coastal and inland communities. Today, offshore wind power is a booming global industry with over $20 billion in annual investments projected for the next 10 years.
- Offshore Wind Power Can Help States Meet New Carbon Pollution Limits. Coastal states have a massive untapped pollution-free energy source sitting right off their shores that can play a major role in meeting the carbon emission reduction targets required by the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan released last month.
- Offshore Wind Power is an Environmentally Responsible Energy Choice: As decades of experience in Europe indicates, strong environmental requirements can ensure that offshore wind power is sited, constructed, and operated in a manner that protects coastal and marine wildlife. This immense clean energy source offers an incredible opportunity to reduce
Thanks to the leadership of the federal government, forward-thinking state leaders, resolute wind industry pioneers, and engaged stakeholders, this transformational clean energy source is finally within reach. Catching the Wind highlights key progress made to date along the coast, and identifies the critical actions state leaders must take to build on this foundation and bring a game-changing clean energy solution online.
In five recommendations, the report challenges New Jersey’s leaders to move forward with the following key actions to launch transformational offshore wind power:
- 1. Set a bold goal for offshore wind power – and stick to it -- in New Jersey’s energy plan.
- 2. Take action to ensure a competitive market for offshore wind power by passing and implementing policies to directly advance offshore wind power and reduce pollution across the electricity sector, pursuing regional market-building opportunities, and supporting key federal incentives.
- 3. Advance critical contracts for offshore wind projects, including facilitating and approving necessary power purchase contracts and rate recovery proposals and pursuing regional procurement opportunities.
- 4. Ensure an efficient, environmentally responsible leasing process, working closely with the federal government and key experts and stakeholders to ensure transparency and strong protections for coastal and marine wildlife as offshore wind development moves forward.
- 5. Invest in key research, initiatives, and infrastructure helpful for advancing offshore wind development including baseline environmental data, stakeholder engagement initiatives, opportunities to maximize local supply chain and job creation, and upgrades to transmission or port facilities.
The National Wildlife Federation is America's largest conservation organization inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children's future. Find out more info on our off-shore wind work at NWF.org/OffshoreWind.
Environment New Jersey is a citizen funded state-wide environmental advocacy organization representing more than 20,000 citizen members across the state.