The state senate's environment and energy committee approved S 2036, the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act, with four yes votes and one abstention.
The bill requires the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to establish special requirements for offshore wind as part of the state's renewable portfolio standard (RPS).
The RPS requires utilities to procure 7.4% of the electricity they sell from renewables in 2010, rising gradually to 22.5% by 2021. The bill would force the board to require that a certain percentage of electricity come from offshore wind.
The board must decide on a percentage that would support at least 1.1GW of offshore wind, the bill says. This percentage would be carved out of the existing obligations.
New Jersey governor Chris Christie is one of ten governors who with the federal Department of the Interior have created the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium, a group dedicated to promoting the development of wind energy on the outer continental shelf.