New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has vetoed legislation that would have made it easier to apply for small offshore wind projects near Atlantic City. The developer Fishermen’s Energy had been hoping to reapply to begin a small 20 MW pilot project, which it’s been fighting to have approved since 2011.
The bill would have allowed the state’s Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to open a new window for wind farm applications. In the past, the BPU has denied the developer’s applications, reasoning that federal funding was not guaranteed for the project. That’s changed recently: Fishermen’s has made an agreement with the US Department of Energy that would guarantee $50 million in funding, in addition to qualifying for a 30 percent investment tax credit. The developer was hoping that with this new information, the project might finally be able to go forward as planned.
This new development is especially upsetting given the high hopes so many renewable energy advocates initially had for the program. In 2011, we reported that it might be the first offshore wind farm in the US to become part of the grid. The two-phase project would have eventually produced 330 MW of energy for New Jersey consumers and provided jobs for more than 500 locals. Now, it looks like the project may have to go back to the drawing board and revise its proposal once again.