Court Orders BPU to Reconsider Atlantic City Wind Farm Rejection

A New Jersey court has ordered the state’s Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to reconsider its rejection of a $188 million offshore wind farm that is planned along the Atlantic City coast.

The Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey on Aug. 18 ruled in favor of Fishermen’s Energy when it gave the BPU 120 days to reconsider that company’s rejected application to install five 5-MW direct-drive wind turbines about three miles off the coast of Atlantic City, N.J.

The BPU disapproved the 25-MW offshore pilot in March for a number of reasons. Among them were claims that the petition had many omissions and uncertainties, and doubts from staff that the project could proceed as proposed without federal funding. BPU staff also said it believes the risks are “too great for the ratepayers to proceed with the project.”

The Fishermen’s Energy project will use a twisted jacket foundation, which the company says is simpler and less expensive to manufacture and install than traditional offshore wind foundations. The company’s Atlantic City project was one of three projects selected by the Department of Energy (DOE) in May to proceed to the second phase of its offshore wind advanced technology demonstration initiative. The two other projects include Principle Power’s Oregon project, and Dominion Virginia Power’s Virginia Beach project.

The DOE has confirmed that each selected project may receive up to $47.7 million in cost-shared funding, including $7.7 million to complete front-end engineering design. Fishermen’s Energy recently executed its $47 million agreement with the DOE, the company said in a statement.

In light of that agreement, the appellate court required the BPU to reconsider the company’s application, Fishermen’s Energy said. “The decision also requires the BPU to acknowledge that the Fishermen’s Energy proposed price is $199.17/MWh, not the $263/MWh price used by the commission.”

“We believe that the record, as now supplemented clearly and unambiguously, supports Fishermen’s position and we fully expect that the BPU will now grant its application,” said Mike Stein of law firm Pashman Stein, which represented Fishermen’s Energy.

Sonal Patel, associate editor (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel)