Last week, the proposed Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind South Project reached a pivotal milestone with the release of the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).
The DEIS marks a crucial step in the federal review process for the project.
BOEM says that Atlantic Shores submitted a combined Construction and Operations plan (COP) for two wind energy facilities and associated export cables on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore New Jersey: the Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind Project 1 and Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind Project 2, which are collectively referred to as the Atlantic Shores South Wind Project.
The combined proposal calls for up to 200 total wind turbines and up to 10 offshore substations with transmission cables making landfall at up to two locations in the Garden State: Atlantic City, Sea Girt, or both.
“As BOEM moves forward with our environmental reviews, we are committed to working with Tribal nations, government agency partners, lessees, environmental organizations, local communities, ocean users and others,” said BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein in a press release. “By working together, we can build a strong, enduring offshore wind industry that ensures American communities across the nation benefit from good paying jobs and clean, reliable domestic renewable energy.”
On May 19, BOEM published the Notice of Availability of the Atlantic Shores South DEIS in the Federal Register, which can be found here. That kicked off a 45-day public comment period that ends July 3, 2023.
In a Friday press release, Gov. Phil Murphy said that the project constitutes a critical component of the state’s burgeoning offshore wind industry and will significantly contribute to New Jersey’s accelerated goal of 100% clean energy by 2035, while creating jobs and being a huge economic boon for the state.
“BOEM’s announcement of the DEIS for Atlantic Shores South represents an inflection point not just for this pivotal project, but for New Jersey’s clean energy future,” said Murphy. “Responsible offshore wind development remains integral to our pursuit of a 100% clean energy economy by 2035, a pursuit that has only become more necessary and urgent as a result of the worsening climate crisis. In addition to limiting greenhouse gas emissions and powering more than 600,000 homes, Atlantic Shores South will generate thousands of good-paying jobs and nearly $2 billion in economic impact for the Garden State.”
“We are thrilled to see Atlantic Shores South reach this critical milestone in the federal review process,” said Joris Veldhoven, CEO of Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind. “As the developer of New Jersey’s largest offshore wind project, Atlantic Shores is proud to support New Jersey and its efforts to achieve 100% clean energy by 2035.”
The announcement is the latest in a series of major developments for the offshore wind sector, which has included controversy surrounding a rash of marine deaths, leading to calls to pause and hearings on the matter. (“Offshore wind moves forward amid calls for marine life studies,” in the May 22 issue of NJBIZ, details those latest advances, as well as recent debate between supporters and critics of offshore wind.)
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection plans to review the DEIS and provide feedback to BOEM by July 3. That comment will be made publicly available on the DEP’s website.
“The release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Atlantic Shores is an important step in the evaluation of this offshore wind project,” said DEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette. “The DEP will thoroughly evaluate and provide comment to ensure all necessary steps are taken to avoid potential adverse impacts to New Jersey’s natural, historic, and cultural resources.”
In June, BOEM will hold two in-person public meetings and two virtual meetings where the public can learn more about the review process, the EIS schedule, potential impacts from the proposed project, and proposals to reduce potential impacts, in additon to having the opportunity to provide comments on the draft EIS. More information on those public meetings and how to participate can be found here.
The public comment will inform preparation of the final EIS. BOEM will use the findings of the final EIS to inform its decision on whether to approve the Atlantic Shores South Wind Project COP, and if so, what mitigation measures to require.