Former Vice President Al Gore (D) joined Gov. Phil Murphy (D) today in Jersey City as the governor signed an executive order that will more than double the state’s offshore wind electricity generation goal by 2035.
Murphy signed the executive order while speaking at a packed press conference at the Liberty Science Center. The order increases the state’s previous goal of 3500 megawatts of offshore wind generated electricity by 2030 to a new goal of 7500 megawatts of off shore wind energy by 2035, to make the state “a truly global leader in every aspect of offshore wind energy.”
“When we meet this goal, our offshore winds will generate enough electricity to power more than 3.2 million New Jersey homes. We will meet half of our electric power need (and) we will generate billions of dollars of investments in our state’s future that will in turn generate thousands of union jobs,” Murphy said. “I pledged from the very beginning that New Jersey would be a leader. We are and then some.”
Murphy was joined by First Lady Tammy Murphy, as well as Gore, who both spoke to the impending effects that climate change will have on the state — and, in particular, the New York metropolitan area — which officials said could eventually cost the state billions of dollars.
“I really applaud what you’re doing. Gov. Murphy’s leadership could not be more timely or more needed. We have a person in the White House who is trying to lead us in the wrong direction,” Gore said, citing President Donald Trump’s intention to pull the country out of the United Nation’s Paris Agreement.
“The stakes are extremely high… We have a very serious challenge and nobody should be under any illusion that this is the life or death battle for those of us who are privileged to be alive in these first decades of the 21st century,” he said. “We have to rise to this challenge (and) we have to change.”
Murphy first signed an executive order in 2017 that committed the state to the offshore wind market place. And in 2018, he later signed the commitment be to “one of the nation’s most aggressive clean energy standards,” which included the original offshore wind goal.
The state has an total goal of 100% clean energy generation by the year 2050.
The state has welcomed a number of offshore wind companies. In July, Denmarkâ€™s Orsted was selected to develop a 1,100-megawatt wind project off the coast of Atlantic City, the largest ever offshore wind procurement by a U.S. state, according to Reuters.
In August, Murphy signed an executive order establishing a Council for the Wind Innovation and New Development Institute to develop a plan that creates a regional hub for the stateâ€™s offshore wind industry.
And here in Jersey City, German wind energy company EnBW — the third largest in the country — opened its first U.S. office in 2018.
Environmental groups lauded the announcement.
“We applaud Governor Murphy for his concrete actions to combat climate change and make NJ the greenest state in America by increasing our offshore wind commitment to 7500 MW and creating thousands of good local jobs in the clean energy economy,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters.
“Science tells us that time is off the essence,” Murphy said. “At this tipping point in our history, states have never mattered more. And that’s why I am — and we are — putting New Jersey on this path… doubling our commitment to moving away from fossil fuels.”
Chief News Correspondent John Heinis contributed to this report
Follow Corey McDonald on Twitter @cwmcdonald_