NextEra Energy Transmission MidAtlantic and WindGrid announced Thursday they have signed a memorandum of understanding to lay the foundation to work together to develop and build offshore wind transmission infrastructure for New Jersey, if selected by state regulators.
NextEra Energy Transmission MidAtlantic (NEETMA), a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Transmission, LLC, has submitted several proposals, collectively called the NJ Seawind Connector, to the state Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to support the transmission needed to connect offshore wind to the existing grid.
The BPU is currently working with PJM Interconnection, the regional grid operator, to evaluate more than a dozen electric transmission project proposal applications from various companies seeking to integrate energy generated from offshore wind facilities to help the state reach its target goal of 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind capacity by the year 2035. The BPU is expected to make its decision later this fall.
“WindGrid and its parent Elia Group are leaders in the engineering, construction and operation of offshore electric transmission projects and we’re pleased to be collaborating with them on our New Jersey proposals,” said Matt Valle, president, NextEra Energy Transmission. “We believe we are well-positioned to help New Jersey achieve its clean energy goals and we look forward to working with all stakeholders on making this important project a success.”
NEETMA said its NJ Seawind Connector proposal offers New Jersey multiple solutions that would collectively deliver offshore wind power with the least impact to the environment and local communities. According to the company, its design offers the “most cost-effective approach to meeting New Jersey’s clean energy needs, while protecting utility customers and providing BPU additional optionality, expandability and flexibility, and high-quality offshore wind transmission infrastructure.”
WindGrid builds on Elia Group’s unique offshore experience in both the North and Baltic seas in Europe. To date, Elia Group has connected 13 wind farms to onshore grids and is currently operating three subsea cable interconnections. Elia Group is also working on new innovative projects such as hybrid interconnectors and energy islands. The company is at the forefront of innovative approaches in offshore grid design and is well-positioned for playing a leading role in the shaping of future offshore grid projects.
“We believe our offshore wind transmission experience will provide valuable insights and provide meaningful benefits if the NEETMA project is selected by the BPU,” said WindGrid CEO Markus Laukamp. “Thanks to our industry-leading position in offshore electric transmission, we have access to and relationships with an extensive network of technical equipment suppliers with whom we collaborate to ensure we are integrating the latest technical innovations into each of our projects. Working with NEETMA, we expect to make a meaningful contribution to accelerating the energy transition in New Jersey,” Laukamp said.
NextEra Energy Transmission develops, finances, constructs, and maintains transmission assets across the continent. NextEra Energy Transmission operates through its regional subsidiaries to integrate renewable energy and strengthen the electric grid. The company’s subsidiaries were among the first non-incumbents to be awarded projects by system operators and utility commissions in California, New York, Texas, and Ontario. NextEra Energy Transmission’s portfolio includes operating assets in 10 states, six regional transmission organizations and one Canadian province, with numerous projects under development and construction.
Elia Group is a key player in European electricity transmission. Through its subsidiaries in Belgium (Elia) and the north and east of Germany (50Hertz), it operates 19,192 km of high-voltage connections at land and sea, making it one of Europe’s top 5 transmission system operators. In addition to its activities as a system operator, Elia provides various consulting services (via Elia Grid International) and seeks to be a reliable partner (via WindGrid) for governments that want to proactively build offshore grid infrastructure, as well as renewable energy developers looking for solutions which will allow them to securely connect and integrate their offshore energy projects into the onshore grid.