Sometimes success is about being in the right place at the right time. Eight years after the signing of one of the nation’s most robust laws to open the market to offshore-wind generation, New Jersey’s moment has arrived.
On September 13, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that the state is on course to reach its benchmark goal of 3,500 megawatts of offshore-wind energy capacity by 2030. And on October 1, he announced the creation of the Wind Innovation & New Development Institute, a key plank of his economic master plan which will catalyze investment to meet offshore-wind goals. Matched with the tangible actions of the Board of Public Utilities which last month unanimously approved opening an application window for 1,100 MW of offshore-wind capacity, we now stand on the verge of realizing the paired goals of responsible environmental policy and investment in dynamic economic development for New Jersey and the region.
The investment in offshore wind is strategic because of the expected capacity to match — and exceed — existing energy needs. “Wind Power to Spare,” a recent Environment New Jersey report, indicates there is enough wind off the Atlantic coast to generate four times the amount of electricity that the region currently consumes. New Jersey is well-positioned to harness abundant renewable energy from Atlantic Ocean wind currents, with our largest urban areas, Newark and Jersey City, proximate beneficiaries.
John Shinn is director of District 4 for the United Steelworkers and NJ Work Environment Council Board member. Debra Coyle McFadden is acting executive director for the New Jersey Work Environment Council. Both organizations are partners in the Jersey Renews coalition working toward state-based policy solutions to address climate change.