TRENTON, NJ - Friday’s decision by the Appellate Division Court on Fisherman’s Energy denied the approval for a five-wind mill offshore wind project. Fisherman’s Energy filed an application under the New Jersey Offshore Wind Economic Development Act (OWEDA) that would subsidize the project by the State’s ratepayers. The Board of Public Utilities had concerns if the benefits would outweigh the costs and blocked the project twice. As a result, the Court agreed with the BPU and denied the project. Fishermen's Energy plans to appeal. Five years ago, the Christie Administration committed to advance wind energy off our coast and has done nothing since. The BPU and court denial of Fisherman’s Energy is a direct result of the Administration’s failure to implement offshore wind rules like OWEDA.
“We are disappointed with the Appellate Court’s decision to side with the BPU and denial over the Fisherman’s Energy. We are not surprised with this decision because the Courts tend to defer to governmental agencies and that’s why we blame the Christie Administration for blocking Fisherman’s Energy from moving forward. New Jersey was supposed to be the first state in the nation to have offshore wind. Rhode Island did not beat us to it. Governor Christie made us a loser and blocked our attempts to have offshore wind. Ever since the Governor decided to run for national office, he has held wind hostage to serve his political agenda and the Koch Brothers. The BPU has failed to develop regulations to establish the OREC program. Since Governor Christie came into office, we’ve been waiting ever since for the financial support from OWEDA. New Jersey should have broken ground years ago with the Fishermen’s Energy project and now it has been rejected,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of The New Jersey Sierra Club.
Last August, the Court ruled in favor of Fisherman’s Energy on a motion filed to require BPU to reconsider the application for a 25 MW project off of Atlantic City. After receiving the $47 million grant from the Department of Energy, the BPU denied the project anyway. The grant was to install 6 offshore wind turbines 2.8 miles off the coast of Atlantic City. With the federal money, the project clearly met the net benefits test.
“The BPU cannot justify the continuous rejection of this project and have actually run out of excuses, but they are doing it anyway. We are very troubled by the way the Board of Public Utilities continues to treat offshore wind. They keep delaying or ignoring the issue. It is disturbing that the Fisherman’s Energy project was rejected again even though they met the net benefits test, have federal funding, and had the support of the Rate Payer Advocate. The delay and absence of rules allow the Board to reject projects without reason. Until there are rules in place, offshore wind in New Jersey will not be a reality and we will miss out on the jobs and economic growth that comes with investing in offshore wind,” said Jeff Tittel. “It is unfortunate that the Court listened to the Christie Administration because they do not have credibility on this issue. The Christie Administration’s deliberate failure to adopt rules for offshore wind has cost New Jersey jobs and economic investments. Projects like Fisherman’s Energy, won in court but were voted by down by the BPU because Governor Christie doesn’t want to have a wind project approved while he is running for national office."
In November 2014, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities unanimously rejected the Fishermen’s Energy 25 MW windproject off of Atlantic City. The BPU rejected the Fishermen’s Energy project because they said it does not meet the net benefits. This project not only meets the net benefits, it surpasses it because of the Federal funding.
“At one point, New Jersey was poised to be the first state in the nation with offshore wind and now we can’t even get a small pilot project approved. What is worst is that the Administration has prevented us from going forward with the cleanest, most reasonably priced, and reliable form of electric generation. New Jersey, after being devastated by climate change, needs to move forward on clean energy to protect our coast and the environment,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of The New Jersey Sierra Club. “Because of his national political agenda, Governor Christie has hurt the maritime industry, hurt job growth down the shore, and prevented $10 billion worth of private investments from coming forward. Offshore wind projects could provide 1/3 of our energy needs and provide 3,000 megawatts worth of energy, which is in the Energy Master Plan. If we had that energy supply, we could close down the Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant, BL England, and not have to open the three natural gas plants being proposed. We have the Saudi Arabia of wind off our coast, but Governor Christie is blocking offshore wind from being a reality in New Jersey.”