New Jersey has opened a second offshore wind solicitation for the state, looking to award up to 2.4 GW of capacity off the East Coast. The procurement window was launched by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) on September 10, 2020 and will be open for applications by December 10, 2020. The tender round will award between 1.2 GW and 2.4 GW of offshore wind projects that will potentially triple New Jersey’s committed capacity from 1.1 GW to 3.5 GW. The state agency anticipates awarding the offshore wind projects in June 2021.

NJBPU has also approved the final New Jersey Offshore Wind Strategic Plan, the state’s comprehensive roadmap for achieving 7,500 MW of offshore wind energy by 2035, which the second solicitation will help meet.

New Jersey’s first offshore wind solicitation, held in 2019, was won by Denmark’s Ørsted with the 1.1-GW Ocean Wind scheme off Atlantic City, planned to be completed in 2024. The procurement round was the beginning of a series of tenders that the state will organise through 2028 to support its goal of having 7.5 GW of installed offshore wind capacity by 2035 and reach the ultimate goal of sourcing 100 per cent of its power from renewable energy by 2050.

NJBPU has already given nod to a final version of the state’s offshore wind strategic plan that contains a roadmap for achieving the 7.5-GW target. In this regard, it plans to issue a third offshore tender for at least 1.2 GW of capacity in 2022. NJBPU has stated that it will continue to coordinate with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to identify and prioritise the research and monitoring needs of this nascent industry.

REGlobal’s Views: New Jersey’s decision to utilise its offshore wind potential comes at the right time when the cost of this technology is beginning to decline. However, the state needs to do more in the areas of grid and transmission planning to prepare for the rise in renewable energy generation and the electrification of transportation.