At least that's what New Jersey DEP Commissioner Bob Martin says. "We would rather have wind turbines, and the environmental and economic benefits they offer, than oil rigs off the coast of New Jersey."
Martin was reacting to New Jersey Governor Christie Christie signing the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act.
The legislation will establish an offshore wind renewable energy certificate program and will make available financial assistance and tax credits from existing programs for businesses that construct manufacturing, assemblage and water access facilities to support the development of qualified offshore wind projects.
Christie believes renewable energy is good for manufacturers. "Developing New Jersey's renewable energy resources and industry is critical to our state's manufacturing and technology future."
The bill directs the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to develop an offshore renewable energy certificate program that calls for a percentage of electricity sold in the state to be from offshore wind energy. This percentage would be developed to support at least 1,100 megawatts of generation from qualified offshore wind projects.
Through the legislation, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority will provide financial assistance to qualified offshore wind projects and associated equipment manufacturers and assembling facilities.
And this just part of an overall plan. "New Jersey already is a national leader in solar energy production, and now we will have the ability to finally tap into the potential of our offshore winds and become a leader in this emergent technology," said Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem).
In June, Governor Christie signed a Memorandum of Understanding with other nine other East Coast governor's establishing the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium to facilitate federal-state cooperation for commercial wind development on the Outer Continental Shelf off of the Atlantic coast.
And of course it's a fight against overseas production. "As a matter of principle, we must take this opportunity to use the emerging new energy economy to create jobs and careers right here in New Jersey and not overseas," said Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R-Union).