New Jersey's Offshore Wind Project Would Cost Taxpayers

December 3, 2013

A look at the proposal for the Fishermen's Atlantic City Windfarm (FACW) project in New Jersey shows how unsustainable wind projects are without government subsidies, according to a new report from the Institute for Energy Research.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act (OWEDA) in 2010 to develop offshore wind energy. The law authorized the state to give up to $100 million in tax credits for wind projects (on top of existing federal and state subsidies). Moreover, the state will require energy providers to certify that a specified percentage of their power comes from these offshore sources, once the projects are up and running.

But like many green energy projects, offshore wind does not make financial sense:

  • According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), offshore wind is 2.6 times more expensive than onshore wind power and is 3.4 times more expensive than power produced by a combined cycle natural gas plant.
  • On a kilowatt hour basis, offshore wind power is estimated to cost 22.15 cents per kilowatt hour, while onshore wind is 8.66 cents per kilowatt hour, and natural gas combined cycle is only 6.56 per kilowatt hour.

So when the FACW project -- intended to test the viability of a large-scale offshore wind development -- came in front of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities earlier this year, they denied approval for the project because of the cost to taxpayers (the project was originally estimated to cost state taxpayers $200 million). But the FACW has continued to press for subsidies from the state, as the project is not viable without them.

And the controversy does not stop there, as the FACW is being financed by a Chinese government-owned wind turbine manufacturer by the name of XEMC.

Taxpayer-funded offshore wind projects will do nothing but raise the cost of energy in the state, which will inevitably be passed on to New Jersey consumers. If the FACW project is approved, New Jersey citizens can expect to be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars.

Source: "N.J. Offshore Wind Project Reveals True Cost to Taxpayer," Institute for Energy Research, November 6, 2013.

 

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