Oceanfront towns in New Jersey have lost the ability to block underwater transmission lines to their communities from wind farms off the shores of the state. Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation last week that allows wind project developers to appeal local decisions to the NJ Board of Public Utilities (BPU). Local opposition to transmission cables can now be overridden by the BPU if the board deems that state specifications have been met.
“We’re not going to let NIMBYism shut this down,” said Stephen Sweeney, President of the NJ Senate and sponsor of the legislation.
Ørsted’s Ocean Wind 1 project will be located off Atlantic City, and plans call for its transmission lines to land in Ocean City and Island Beach State Park.
Ocean City councilman Keith Hartzell believes the majority of his town’s residents oppose the wind farm.
“Everybody thought it would be up to us to decide whether the transmission lines came through Ocean City,” he said.
“Ocean City doesn’t get to make the decision for the entire state of New Jersey on a policy initiative,” said Sweeney.
“To derail state policy for the purpose of shutting down offshore wind – that was their plan, to shut it down – we weren’t going to let that happen.”