While most of us agree that the United States needs to decrease its reliance on foreign oil and develop more renewable power sources, the consensus ends there. One of the biggest sources of controversy is what role federal, state, and local governments should play in the process, particularly when it comes to funding and regulating power sources like wind and solar farms.
The state of New Jersey is a perfect example. In 2010, Gov. Chris Christie signed the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act into law in the hopes of promoting the creation of wind farms off the coast of New Jersey. Among other things, the law established an offshore wind renewable energy certificate program (OREC) and made financial assistance and tax credits available for businesses that construct manufacturing, assemblage, and water access facilities to support the development of qualified offshore wind projects.
In addition to this Act, New Jersey has also enacted several additional laws designed to make it easier to build wind farms, relaxing the permitting restrictions for wind facilities sited in industrial zones and on piers. Christie also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with other nine other East Coast governor’s establishing the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium. Its aim is to facilitate federal-state cooperation for commercial wind development on the Outer Continental Shelf off of the Atlantic coast.
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