Offshore wind projects may be cancelled in NJ, according to report
💨 NJ wind farm projects could be cancelled
💨Danish developer, Orsted, suffers massive financial losses
💨Opposition to offshore wind farms has been growing
UPDATE: New Jersey wind farm Project Delayed
Danish developer Orsted has officially delayed the Ocean Wind I project off the coast of New Jersey until at least 2026.
Company officials say they did consider cancelling the project entirely, but still believe it will be profitable for them in the long run.
Speaking on News-12, Gov. Phil Murphy said he was "not surprised" and his administration has been in "constant contact" with Orsted.
Rep Jeff Van Drew called the delay a “victory” and credited people for speaking out once “the facts presented themselves” about the impact of the project.
"These projects are profit-driven, damaging to our oceans, negatively impact our national security, and cause utility bills to skyrocket," Van Drew said in a statement
The previous story detailing Orsted's financial troubles is below.
Already facing a series of lawsuits and opposition from state and local officials, Danish wind power developer Orsted is reporting huge financial losses.
Those losses, company officials warned, could reach $2.3 billion in the U.S and may force the cancellation of projects of the New Jersey coast.
In a conference call with investors, Orsted CEO Mads Nipper told them, "If the walk-away scenario is the economical, rational decision for us, then this remains a real scenario for us."
According to a report in the New York Sun, Orsted is considering "walking away" from or cancelling projects in New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Maryland.
Nipper cited rising interest rates, supply chain issues and slowing federal tax subsidies.
Gov. Murphy has committed big money to Orsted for NJ wind farms
In July, Gov. Phil Murphy signed controversial legislation that would give a big tax break to Orsted for the first of two energy projects off the Jersey Shore.
At the time, Murphy said the financial aid was necessary to ensure that offshore wind projects and the jobs they create happen in New Jersey rather than in competing states.
Before the ink was dry on that bill, he faced pressure from another offshore wind company looking for similar assistance.
Lawmakers who voted for enabling legislation said the aid was necessary to help Orsted deal with inflation and the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Murphy signed the legislation at the Paulsboro Marine Terminal, where the huge supporting structures for wind turbines, called monopiles, are manufactured.
"If we don't figure out a solution, this doesn't get done in New Jersey," Murphy said.
Neither Murphy nor Orsted company officials would say how much the tax credits were worth, but Republicans estimated it was close to $1 billion.
Resistance to wind projects off the New Jersey coast is building
Even though Democratic leaders in the New Jersey Senate and Assembly supported giving tax breaks to Orsted for their wind energy projects, they had recently begun to question the impact to New Jersey.
In a joint statement, Senate President Nick Scutari and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin said, "There are still many unanswered questions about the economic impact these projects will have on ratepayers as well as potential impacts to one of our state’s largest economic drivers, tourism at the shore."
In May, Cape May County Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution opposed to offshore wind projects and vowed to continue to fight the installation of wind mills off the coast.
A report supporting the resolution claims the windmills will cost Cape May County more than $1.1 billion in lost tourism revenue and will have a devastating impact on food service, hospitality, retail, rental housing and other segments of the local economy.
Public Support for offshore wind projects is also plunging
A majority of New Jersey adults are still favor of the development of offshore wind energy, but support has plunged compared to just a few years ago, according to the latest Monmouth University Poll.
As New Jersey inches closer to getting its first offshore wind farm, the latest poll finds that just 54% are in favor of the move, and 40% oppose it. Support was at 76% and opposition was at 15% in a 2019 version of the poll.
Democratic support over the past four years has remained stable, but Republican backing has slipped from 69% to 28%. Support from independents moved from 77% to 52%.
The poll also showed nearly half of New Jersey residents believe the wind projects are responsible for a rise in the deaths of marine mammals.
A pygmy whale was found stranded on the beach in Loveladies on Tuesday and had to be euthanized.
No scientific evidence has been presented linking whale deaths to wind projects, but an investigation has been launched by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) into the impacts that the wind turbines will have on the environment.
Questions about radar interference
Opposition to offshore wind farms opened on a new front this month.
There are concerns a proliferation of wind turbines could interfere with radar signals used by the U.S. military and commercial aircraft.
An amendment sponsored by New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith has been advanced that would require President Biden to certify that offshore wind projects "will not weaken, degrade, interfere with, or nullify the capability of radar relied upon the Federal Aviation Administration or the Armed Forces."
The amendment is now part of the bill (HR 3935) to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration.
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