The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) has moved to make New Jersey the first state to fully align its offshore wind transmission policy with the planning process of its regional grid operator. With a goal of 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2035, as set out by Governor Phil Murphy and the Legislature, the NJBPU formally requested this move to align policy and transmission planning in order to achieve these offshore wind objectives.
The NJBPU hopes that this collaborative approach with PJM Interconnection will lead to further expansion of renewable energy in the state, as well as the best possible value for New Jersey ratepayers. This alignment of policy and transmission should prove advantageous in New Jersey’s pursuit of 100% clean energy by 2050.
The formal request from NJBPU directs PJM to integrate the State’s offshore wind transmission policy goals into the grid operator’s transmission planning process using a competitive solicitation process known as the State Agreement Approach. The State Agreement Approach was established by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Order No. 1000. With this action from the NJBPU, PJM is authorized to solicit offshore wind solutions from developers on NJBPU’s behalf.
By using the State Agreement Approach, the NJBPU will be better equipped to plan ahead and explore options for long-term offshore wind transmission solutions. Through this solicitation process, NJBPU will be able to examine the details of ready-to-build transmission options, such as cost, timeframe, siting, and environmental impact. Additionally, it’s important to note that there are no financial or ratepayer obligations arising from this announcement, and that this solicitation process also contains extensive consumer protections.
NJBPU staff will be working alongside PJM to seek potential solutions for the following three components of an open access offshore wind transmission facility:
Beach crossings with potential offshore “collector” platforms, which collect energy from multiple wind farms
An ocean transmission “backbone” to connect multiple collector platforms or lease areas
Proposals relating to these three components will be assessed to determine whether or not they can meet the State’s offshore wind policy goals while satisfying economic, environmental, and timeframe requirements.
The NJBPU and PJM intend to open the solicitation in 2021. Project proposals will be evaluated by the NJBPU while taking into account considerations relating to the grid operator. Following this process of solicitation and evaluation, the NJBPU will decide whether or not to proceed with any combination of the proposed projects, reserving the right to terminate the process at any points without selecting any projects.
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