Whether NJ bolts regional power grid could depend on offshore wind
New Jersey’s first offshore wind project may not begin providing power until mid-decade, a factor that could have implications for whether the state decides to bolt from the PJM Interconnection, the nation’s largest power grid.
In an earnings call earlier this fall, Henrik Poulsen, CEO of Ørsted, indicated the completion of the company’s 1,100-megawatt offshore wind farm 17 miles off the coast from Atlantic City may not occur in 2024, as originally anticipated, because of delays with the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s permitting process.
If so, the impact of controversial changes in federal policies — which critics say undermine the state’s goal of promoting clean-energy sources like offshore wind — could be less harmful than many advocates initially feared.
The federal policies would largely decide what type of power plants are selected to deliver electricity to customers. Because of those projections, offshore wind resources are likely not to be compensated for providing capacity — the power needed to keep lights on — in the regional market. But, if those impacts are not apparent until mid-decade or later, the viability of offshore wind resources might not be affected, at least in the short term.
The issue is perhaps the most contentious facing policymakers in the energy sector: how the state ensures its clean-energy policies remain on track and how it goes about buying power for customers. It involves using ratepayer subsidies to promote a range of clean-energy resources, including solar energy, offshore wind, energy efficiency, and nuclear power plants. Those options seemed to be undermined by new federal policies initiated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.