New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law yesterday stripping local communities of authority over placement of transmission lines, removing a chief obstacle for offshore wind in the state.
The move, while focused on just one state, highlights national tensions cropping up over a planned acceleration of renewable energy projects that some local residents say are being forced upon them. The battles are likely to increase as a swath of offshore wind projects are considered up and down the East Coast and President Biden pushes to decarbonize the power sector by 2035.
The transmission lines at issue in New Jersey are a crucial component of offshore wind build-outs, providing the necessary conduits connecting offshore wind arrays to onshore electricity grids.
Under the new law, developers can appeal blocked approvals at the local level to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. The board would be able to override local government opposition if it deemed that a project’s request to land a transmission cable was just and had followed state requirements.
The legislation was drafted to counter so called NIMBY — or “not in my backyard” — complaints from coastal residents and leaders, said state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, the bill’s sponsor.