New York and other Northeastern states may have to pick up New Jersey’s slack if President Joe Biden’s ambitious green energy goals are to be kept intact, according to Politico.
New Jersey’s green energy dreams took a massive hit this week when Orsted, a Danish company with a large presence in the American offshore wind industry, announced that it cancelled its ocean Wind 1 and 2 projects off the New Jersey coast, according to Politico. The Garden State had positioned itself to be a leader in offshore wind power generation for years and was poised to be a major player in Biden’s wider climate agenda, but the pressure is now on New York and other Northeastern states to keep their own struggling offshore wind projects afloat if Biden’s aggressive green energy agenda is to meet its key targets.
Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s plan to have his state’s power system reach 100% carbon-free generation by 2035 has effectively collapsed following the cancellations, which leave only one project still slated for eventual completion off the state’s coast, according to Politico. New York is poised to scoop up many of the factories and jobs that may have otherwise gone to New Jersey, but the Empire State has its own offshore wind problems to address as well.
Earlier in 2023, Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey had cumulatively contracted enough offshore wind power to provide electricity to more than 5 million homes, but more than 60% of that wind power has either been cancelled or is now at risk, according to Politico. Biden’s goal to have offshore wind provide enough electricity to power 10 million homes by 2030 was already slipping out of reach before Orsted’s cancellations, according to Reuters.
The Biden administration is counting on offshore wind to play a key role in its plans to decarbonize the American energy system by 2035 and have the overall U.S. economy reach net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.
Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island announced in October that they would cooperate with each other to support regional offshore wind projects and try to keep costs down, according to Politico. New York, meanwhile, has issued new contracts and sought new bids from developers to relieve pressure and reassure the industry after rejecting a request from a host of developers seeking to renegotiate their power purchase agreements (PPAs) to offset inflation and other unanticipated costs.
Orsted has asked Maryland’s utility regulator to keep more federal tax credits that would otherwise be passed on to ratepayers, a move which New Jersey tried in July, months before the cancellations, according to Politico. “We would like to avoid the interruptions witnessed in the Atlantic coastal states, but we also want to remain vigilant of any additional costs shouldered by rate-payers,” Maryland Energy Administration Director Paul Pinsky told Politico.
Despite the setbacks, many officials in the coastal states remain confident in the industry’s ability to reach green energy targets, according to Politico.
The White House, Murphy’s office and the office of New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul all did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
Nick Pope on November 4, 2023