Protect Earth Magazine
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy wants the state’s Board of Public Utilities to initiate more bids for offshore wind projects in the New Year.
The move aligns with the state’s ambitious goal of a 100% clean energy economy by 2035.
Balvir Singh, a Burlington County Commissioner and New Jersey leadership council member of Elected Officials to Protect America, said the governor’s decision sends a robust signal to offshore wind developers, affirming New Jersey is open for business in the renewable energy sector.
“Offshore wind power and other renewable energy sources will drive the transition of the electrification of transportation,” Singh contended. “Renewable energy projects represent enormous positive outcomes for our health and economy, especially from the lens of environmental justice.”
Back in March, Rep. Jefferson Van Drew, R-N.J., issued a resolution urging President Joe Biden to halt offshore wind development until further studies were done to assess the environmental and economic impacts. Van Drew has been critical of the wind industry, claiming it would raise energy prices and harm the existing energy industry.
Atlantic Shores got approval in 2021 to construct the state’s largest offshore wind farm, and contributed to funding research on the effects of offshore wind on New Jersey’s natural resources.
Caren Fitzpatrick, an Atlantic County Commissioner and also on the New Jersey leadership council of Elected Officials to Protect America, said offshore wind has the potential to boost the economy and bring visibility to communities otherwise burdened and overlooked. She emphasized regions like hers stand to gain recognition, along with the prospect of well-paid jobs.
“We have to stop using fossil fuels, and the way to do that is to responsibly build out offshore wind,” Fitzpatrick asserted. “By doing this and creating these projects, we’re going to create thousands of union jobs. It’s a win-win for our economy, our pocketbooks and our health.”
The Empire Wind project — both Phase 1 near Long Island, New York, and Phase 2 near Long Branch, New Jersey — is estimated to support more than 830 jobs each year during the construction phase, and about 300 jobs annually during the operations phase.