CCSNJ Support of S-3926 (Sweeney/Smith)
TO: Members of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee
FROM: Hilary Chebra, Manager, Government Affairs, CCSNJ
RE: S-3926 (Sweeney/Smith)
DATE: June 15, 2020
The Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey (CCSNJ) would like to express our support for S-3926 (Sweeney/Smith), which authorizes certain offshore wind projects to construct power lines and obtain real property interests. The bill also grants the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) authority to supersede certain local governmental powers upon petition from offshore wind project.
New Jersey is well positioned to become a national leader in the offshore with industry due to the state’s natural geographic advantages, educated workforce and state and federal commitment to the industry. Governor Phil Murphy has set the ambitious goal of 7,500 MW of offshore wind energy by 2035 and, the United States’ first purpose-built offshore wind port is being planned to be built in Lower Alloways Creek, New Jersey – one of the more economically depressed areas of the state and the region.
Additionally, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) to advance Ocean Wind, Ørsted’s 1,100 MW offshore wind project, located 15 miles off the coast of New Jersey. The project is projected to generate $1.17 billion in economic benefits for New Jersey and create thousands of jobs. Among these economic benefits, and critically important to the continued success of this area of the state, the new offshore wind industry would diversify the Atlantic County economy, one that continues to be driven by gaming and hospitality, which was especially hard hit by the COVID—19 pandemic.
It is vitally important that this new industry is able to establish itself in the state swiftly, with minimal hurdles. S-3926 (Sweeney/Smith) creates a process that enables offshore wind developers to request that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and the NJBPU intervene when needed, to ensure our natural resources and citizens are being protected while desperately needed offshore wind projects are developed on schedule. As an important industry to not only the state’s economy, but also its clean energy goals, it is imperative that wind developers have a process that enables them to ask the state to step in and allow progress to continue when talks break down at the local level.
It is of the upmost importance that the offshore wind energy projects are not delayed by due to their importance to the state’s energy goals and the benefits to the southern New Jersey workforce and overall economy.
Thank you for the opportunity to weigh in on this important new industry for the region and the CCSNJ respectfully urges your support of S-3926 (Sweeney/Smith).