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Sweeney Speaks To Economic & Environmental Benefits of Wind Energy

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‘NJ Can Be A Leader On Clean Energy Wind Technology’ 

Princeton – Speaking at an international forum on the development and use of offshore wind technology today, Senate President Steve Sweeney told the gathering of corporate leaders and international, federal, and state officials that New Jersey should seize the opportunity to make the state a leader in clean energy, especially offshore wind. Senator Sweeney spoke at the annual International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum in Princeton.

“It’s time to get moving again to truly harness the potential we have in New Jersey for offshore wind. New Jersey should be a leader in what is now a growing sector of the economy that generates good jobs at the same time it reduces pollution,” said Senator Sweeney. “The opportunity to develop offshore wind has returned. We’re going to take advantage of this moment and make New Jersey the leader we should be.”

The offshore wind market will grow rapidly in the coming years, according to Moody’s Investors Service, in a new analysis of the sector. The Northeast, particularly New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts, should see significant investment in offshore wind, partly with support from policymakers, according to the analysis. The findings could help New Jersey tap the technology to accelerate its transition to cleaner energy, Senator Sweeney noted.

Helping to move the effort forward is legislation, S-1217, that will update the law to fully authorize the approval process for a wind farm off Atlantic City, requiring the Board of Public Utilities to act on an amended application for an offshore wind project. It would help to jump-start a program that has been dormant for close to eight years due to the inaction of the previous administration. Sponsored by Senator Sweeney and Senator Bob Smith, the bill is scheduled for action by a Senate committee on Thursday.

“The wind project off the coast of Atlantic City should have been constructed by now, providing clean energy, creating jobs and pumping money into the economy,” said Senator Sweeney. “The BPU wasted eight years, so I don’t want to waste one more day. That’s why my bill will require them to take swift action and implement the energy credit program.”

Senator Sweeney authored the 2010 law creating the Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credit program that was not implemented because of the failure of the Board of Public Utilities to follow through with required regulations.

Also promoting the expansion of wind energy is another bill, S-2314, that would increase the percent of power in the state that must be generated by “class I renewable energy,” which includes offshore wind, to 35 percent by 2025 and to 50 percent by 2050. It would also require the Department of Labor to provide job training programs for those who work in manufacturing and servicing of offshore wind energy equipment.

“We have the opportunity to develop an entirely new sector of the economy that will lead to thousands of specialized, secure, good-paying jobs,” said Senator Sweeney. “It will also lead to more investment dollars, business activity and economic opportunity for New Jersey.”

The bill would also increase the percent of energy utilities are required to buy from renewable sources to 50 percent by 2030, putting New Jersey on its way to producing 3.5 gigawatts of wind power.

Sponsored by Senator Smith and Senator Sweeney, the bill is also scheduled for action by a Senate committee on Thursday.