The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will lead a newly established working group of fishing and conservation groups to provide guidance to the administration’s overall strategy and approach to achieving its offshore wind goals, New Jersey DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced Wednesday. That goal was increased by Gov. Phil Murphy earlier this week to producing 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2035.
The New Jersey Environmental Resources Offshore Wind Working Group will draw representatives from commercial and recreational fishing industries, conservation organizations, maritime industry, and fisheries councils. The Working Group will ensure that interested parties have a seat at the table with government officials to help shape the Murphy Administration’s offshore wind strategy and implementation.
The establishment of the Working Group recognizes that engagement is critical to the success of the Murphy Administration’s clean energy, economic development and natural resource preservation goals. This working group will build on the ongoing stakeholder engagement that both DEP and the Board of Public Utilities have conducted during the development of the Administration’s offshore wind strategic plan and solicitation process.
“Offshore wind development is critical to achieving our statewide goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050, and it is important that all interested parties have a voice in that process,” said Commissioner McCabe. “By working together with the fishing industry and conservation community in reaching this goal, we can effectively combat the harmful effects of sea-level rise and climate change while preserving critical aspects of our economy and natural resources.”
“NJBPU is pleased to work with DEP and Working Group members on this effort in furtherance of Governor Murphy’s offshore wind goals and clean energy agenda,” said Joseph L. Fiordaliso, President of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. “New Jersey continues to lead when it comes to offshore wind development, and ongoing engagement with all sectors is critical to our success when it comes to fighting climate change.”
“Growing New Jersey’s offshore wind economy is a rare opportunity to protect our environment while also fostering long-term, equitable economic growth and job creation,” said New Jersey Economic Development Authority Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The Environmental Resources Offshore Wind Working Group is a critical initiative that will ensure local communities and stakeholders have their voices heard throughout this process.”
The group has five objectives:
- Enhancing communication and coordination between fishing and conservation communities and state and federal agencies;
- Providing a platform for the fishing and conservation communities to have meaningful input to assist the state with its decision making as New Jersey moves forward with its clean energy goals;
- Sharing existing data, research and information sources with fishing and environmental groups;
- Providing information on current uses of proposed offshore wind areas in order to allow DEP and other agencies to better address, and potentially mitigate, any potential conflicts;
- Supporting scientific and technical research at state and regional levels to address issues related to offshore wind energy project planning, siting, construction, operation and monitoring.
Information about Working Group meetings will be published on the DEP’s website.
Governor Murphy has made offshore wind energy development a key priority from the start of his administration, issuing Executive Order No. 8 in January 2018. It directs the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to fully implement the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act and establishes the 3,500-megawatt goal.
The Board of Public Utilities in June awarded the first 1,100 megawatts of offshore wind energy generation.
In August 2019, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 79 establishing the Council for the Wind Innovation and New Development Institute, which will develop and implement a regional clearinghouse for education, research, innovation and workforce training on offshore wind energy for New Jersey and the Northeastern United States.
Yesterday, Governor Murphy built upon those efforts by signing Executive Order No. 92, which expanded the State’s offshore wind goal to 7,500 megawatts by 2035.
To learn more about New Jersey’s clean energy efforts including offshore wind energy, visit www.nj.gov/dep/aqes/opea-clean-energy.html
Follow the DEP on Twitter @NewJerseyDEP.