Lane F. Kelman, partner with Cohen Seglias, contributed to this post.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently signed The Offshore Wind Economic Development Act (Act). The purpose of the Act is to make New Jersey a leader in offshore wind power. According to Governor Christie, “Developing New Jersey’s renewable energy resources and industry is critical to our state’s manufacturing and technology future.” Many believe that the passage of the Act will make New Jersey “the leading provider of offshore wind energy in the country.”
In order to accomplish its purpose, the Act assigns responsibilities to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA). The NJEDA is tasked with providing financial assistance to companies establishing offshore wind farms and to the companies that manufacture and assemble equipment for those wind farms. The NJBPU is responsible for designating the percentage of electricity sold in the state that must come from offshore wind farms, as well as for the creation of a program that allows the operators of offshore wind farms to obtain revenue by selling offshore renewable-energy certificates. Certificates are earned based on the amount of electricity generated. Power suppliers in New Jersey are required to buy a certain number of certificates each year to satisfy state renewable energy requirements.
The Act, through the use of the NJEDA and mandatory renewable energy requirements, attracts power suppliers to New Jersey by providing financial assistance and guaranteeing a steady revenue stream. New Jersey employed similar methods to become second in the nation in solar power production.
Initiatives similar to the Act recently passed in Delaware and are currently before the Pennsylvania legislature. We will continue to monitor any new developments and will keep you informed as the laws develop.