Salem County legislator slams deal increasing Danish offshore wind developer’s earnings, consumer energy bills

Salem County legislator slams deal increasing Danish offshore wind developer’s earnings, consumer energy bills

Bethanne McCarthy Patrick

TRENTON, N.J. – Salem County’s only assemblywoman, Bethanne McCarthy Patrick, said she is speaking up for her constituents by speaking out on a bill diverting money, meant to offset the offshore wind costs to electricity customers, to boost the profits of Danish offshore wind developer, Orsted.

The bill (A5651) will allow Orsted to keep millions in federal tax credits instead of returning them to utility customers who are forced to pay higher electric bills to support the development of offshore wind. The state’s utility consumer advocate, the Division of Rate Counsel, warned the legislation would increase earnings for Orsted while increasing ratepayer costs.

“As the only legislator living in Salem County, where the promise of jobs at the wind port have buoyed the hopes of residents, I should have had a seat at the table when this deal was being discussed. Now, it is clear Governor Phil Murphy’s administration has just been blowing a lot of hot air, because it is a foreign wind corporation that will benefit, not South Jersey,” McCarthy Patrick (R-Salem) said. “Not one turbine has been solely manufactured in my district. Labor has come from overseas, despite the state pouring more than $900 million into the wind ports.”

New Jersey’s offshore wind manufacturing and marshalling ports are located in Lower Alloways Creek, Salem County, and Paulsboro, Gloucester County. Orsted partly won approval for the wind farms by agreeing to manufacture the turbines and their foundations in New Jersey; however, the Paulsboro Marine Terminal currently only puts together sections of the monopiles made in Germany, then sandblasts and paints them for completion.

“South Jersey has little to show in the way of any real economic gain from the state’s offshore wind push despite guarantees that these ports would produce more than 1,500 jobs for Salem County,” McCarthy Patrick said. “Instead of good-paying union jobs and American-made, we get German labor and foreign imports. The Democrats and Murphy are willing to sacrifice Salem County residents who are living in poverty to let a multinational corporation pad its profits.”

Salem County’s median household income of $67,898 is nearly a quarter less than New Jersey’s. Additionally, the poverty level in Salem County is 12%, which is also higher than New Jersey’s 10.1%.

“South Jersey must come ahead of handouts, foreign or domestic. Relying on ratepayers to subsidize wind farms, then taking away any form of relief and failing to deliver on promised economic advantages, leaves residents in the lurch,” McCarthy Patrick said. “I am a strong ‘no’ on this bill and urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to stand up for New Jersey by doing the same.”