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New Wind Report Builds Case for Moving Forward with Off-Shore Wind in NJ; Legislative Leaders Call Out BPU for Fishermen’s Energy Denial & Delay

For Immediate Release

Trenton –The carbon pollution from at least nine entire fossil fuel plants could be eliminated in New Jersey if wind power supplied 30 percent of the nation’s electricity needs, according to a new analysis by Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center. The analysis comes as Fishermen’s Energy appeals the Board of Public Utilities’ decision to reject an off-shore wind project off Atlantic City through the New Jersey Superior Court – and more than 4 years after Gov. Christie signed off-shore wind legislation into law.

“The potential of New Jersey’s off-shore wind is too strong to ignore,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center. “The BPU’s attempt to stall and deny off-shore wind is painfully transparent. We are optimistic that Fishermen’s Energy court challenge will succeed in making history off of Atlantic City.”

Continued, rapid development of wind energy would allow the renewable resource to supply 30 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2030, providing more than enough carbon reductions to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan.

The analysis also shows the potential for offshore wind in New Jersey and how it could significantly expand in New Jersey over the next 15 years, producing enough power  (more than 25,000 gigawatt hours) for a vast majority of New Jersey’s residential homes (more than 80%) and offsetting the dangerous pollution of dirty energy sources. The global warming emissions reductions would be more than 20 million metric tons of global warming pollution reduced per year.

“This report further confirms everything we have been saying about the positive impact wind energy can have on our environment and economy.  I applaud Environment New Jersey and Fishermens’ Energy for their tireless work and dedication to this issue.  The report talks about how America has enough wind energy potential to power the nation more than 10 times over. That is very clear and convincing evidence and further supports our position that the wind project off the coast of Atlantic City should be under construction by now, pumping money into the local economy. The project is not only great for the environment but once construction begins, would bring hundreds of good paying jobs to the region. The BPU needs to get this done and today’s report further substantiates the benefits and necessity,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3).

After the BPU’s denial of the Fishermen’s Energy project, the company filed a notice of legal action with the Appellate Division, and filed its brief last week. “The BPU committed reversible error....by making fundamental errors, to wit, ignoring the written regulatory criteria and inventing new standards by which to judge the application, and by ignoring substantial and material evidence in the record,” reads the brief.  “After three plus years of trying to work with the BPU to present a project that progressively reduced the costs to ratepayers, and despite the prior remand of this matter, the BPU has steadfastly reviewed the application in an arbitrary and capricious manner and its order should be reversed,” the brief summary concludes.

The Appellate Division court date is set for March 4, 2015.

“Off-shore wind will be an environmental and economic winner for New Jersey and Atlantic City,” said Sen. Jim Whelan (D-2). “Fishermen's Energy pilot project off Atlantic City is the right place to start, and Board of Public Utilities’s failure to approve this project is not going to stand up to legal scrutiny. It’s been more than 4 years since Gov. Christie signed off-shore wind legislation into law – it’s  time to start moving.”

The report, More Wind, Less Warming, comes after the comment period closed for the EPA’s Clean Power Plan earlier this month, which Congressional leaders are trying to block. The analysis also comes as lawmakers left Washington by only extending wind energy tax credits in the nation’s spending plan till the end of this year, which spurred Fishermen’s Energy to begin a ground-breaking ceremony for the project’s on-land transmission.

“Off-shore wind is the future -- but New Jersey is falling behind by not moving forward with it,” said Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-2). “Fishermen's Energy is a great pilot project right off Atlantic City, and has received federal funding to construct turbines. The BPU’s excuses are wearing thin to stop this project. The time is now to put people back to work while greening our planet and our economy.”

The new report also has implications for avoiding the public health risks associated with dirty energy sources.

“This is a chance for New Jersey to take action in protecting our children from harmful pollution,” said Trisha Sheehan, Northeast Regional Field Manager of Moms Clean Air Force. “Moms know that dirty fossil fuels are harming our families and communities. We need more clean and renewable sources, like offshore wind power. Our children are depending on us.”

The United States has the potential to power itself 10 times over with wind that blows both over land and off the East Coast. Offshore wind development, which is in its very nascent stages in the U.S., is critical to achieving the 30 percent target, the report said.

“Speeding the development of pollution-free wind energy will slow global warming,” said O’Malley. “That’s why the Christie Administration should comply with its own law, and greenlight the first pilot off-shore wind project. The best Christmas gift New Jersey could get to fight global warming would be to move forward with off-shore wind.”                                            

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NEW JERSEY WIND FINDINGS:

 

2013

2030 (30% Scenario)

 
Wind generation (in GWh)
CO2 Displaced by Wind (in MMT)
Wind generation (in GWh)
CO2 Displaced by Wind (in MMT)

New Jersey
                          13.3
                                0.0
                    25,470.7
                             20.5

 

BACKGROUND INFO FROM MORE WIND, LESS WARMING:

Wind power is on the rise across America. The United States generates 24 times more electricity from wind power than we did a decade ago – providing clean, fossil fuel-free energy that helps the nation do its part in the fight against global warming.

In 2013 alone, wind power averted 132 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions – the equivalent of taking more than 27 million vehicles off the road for a year. But those emission reductions are just the beginning of what can be achieved.

America has enough wind energy potential to power the nation 10 times over. Taking advantage of just a fraction of that potential to achieve the goal of getting 30 percent of America’s electricity from the wind by 2030 would cut carbon dioxide emissions from electric power plants by 36 percent compared to federal forecasts – all while helping to enable states to meet and exceed the carbon dioxide emission reduction called for by the EPA’s draft Clean Power Plan.

Wind power has already significantly reduced carbon pollution.

  • After more than a decade of rapid growth, wind energy now accounts for 4 percent of total U.S. electricity generation.
  • In 2013, wind power displaced more than 132 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
  • Since 2001, wind power has displaced more than 620 million metric tons of carbon pollution -- more than a year’s worth of CO2 emissions from the entire country of Canada.
  • Nine states – Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas, Idaho, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Oregon – now generate more than 12 percent of their total electricity with wind power.
  • Wind power capacity in Iowa and South Dakota now supplies more than a quarter of all in-state electricity generation.

By aggressively expanding wind energy, America can displace even more carbon pollution – putting the nation and the world on track to addressing global warming.

  • America has enough wind energy potential to power the nation more than 10 times over, with a great deal of that potential being in offshore areas. Offshore wind energy has provided Europe with increasing amounts of clean energy for a decade and several projects are poised for development in the United States.
  • If the nation were to set a course for obtaining 30 percent of its electricity from wind power by 2030, America could avert nearly 712 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year by 2025 and 1 billion metric tons per year by 2030.  That’s the equivalent of:
    • 25 percent of forecast U.S. power plant carbon dioxide emissions in 2025 and 36 percent of forecast emissions in 2030;
    • 11 percent of America’s current (2012) annual emissions of global warming pollution by 2025 and 15 percent of emissions by 2030;
    • 2 percent of the world’s current (2012) annual emissions of carbon dioxide by 2025 and 3 percent of current global emissions by 2030.
    • Reducing U.S. power plant emissions to 41 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The EPA Clean Power Plan calls for reductions in power plant emissions of 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.