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FERC, CFTC, and State Energy Law Developments

New York and New Jersey have announced the largest offshore wind solicitations in the United States. The solicitations—2,500 megawatts (MW) by New York and 2,400 MW by New Jersey—would add nearly 5 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity.

The offshore wind programs of these two states are among the most ambitious in the country. New York has a goal of developing 9,000 MW of offshore wind by 2035, while New Jersey is targeting the development of 7,500 MW of offshore wind by 2035. To date, each state has conducted one solicitation to procure large-scale offshore wind projects.

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) approved the state’s first solicitation in September 2018, which resulted in the selection of the 1,100 MW Ocean Wind Project in June 2019. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) issued its first solicitation in November 2018, which resulted in the selection of the 816 MW Empire Wind Project and the 880 MW Sunrise Wind Project. Each state had intended to conduct additional solicitations in 2020, with the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) authorizing NYSERDA to solicit up to 2,500 MW of offshore wind and New Jersey planning to issue another solicitation for 1,200 MW.

In the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it was unclear whether New York and New Jersey would meet their 2020 goals. In May 2020, NYSERDA announced it was delaying further solicitations due to the impact of COVID-19, and the BPU had not released any further details regarding future solicitations. However, within one day of each other, both states announced that the 2020 solicitations would proceed.

On July 21, Governor Cuomo announced that New York would solicit 4,000 MW of renewable energy development, including 2,500 MW of offshore wind, and NYSERDA issued its request for proposals after the governor’s announcement. Proposals are due to the state on October 20, 2020, and NYSERDA anticipates selecting the winning project or projects by the end of 2020.

On July 22, the BPU announced the kickoff of its second offshore wind solicitation. The BPU released draft solicitation guidance that details its proposed solicitation process. The process calls for the official solicitation to be released in September 2020, with applications to be submitted in December 2020 and an anticipated BPU decision on selected projects in June 2021.