What Biden’s offshore wind plan means for New Jersey

Daniel J. Munoz//March 30, 2021//

What Biden’s offshore wind plan means for New Jersey

Daniel J. Munoz//March 30, 2021//

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2President Joe Biden on Monday, March 29 rolled out a “set of bold actions” aimed at kickstarting the nation’s offshore wind energy sector.

And with New Jersey under the Murphy administration having been focused on boosting the offshore sector the past several years, state officials and business executives say New Jersey is poised to benefit in the very near future.

“Building our offshore wind industry will allow us to protect our natural resources, while expanding the state’s economy through investments and good-paying, union jobs,” reads a March 29 statement from Gov. Phil Murphy, who’s contended that the sector is key to the state’s post-COVID economic recovery.

The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said March 29 that it is fast-tracking the permitting process for Ocean Wind, an 1,100-megawatt wind energy project several miles off the coast of Atlantic City.

As part of the March 29 announcement, the Biden administration said it was preparing to go ahead with Ocean Wind’s environmental impact statement, which can take up to 22 months to complete and include a host of public comment sessions.

Once completed in 2024, Ocean Wind – which is being developed by Danish wind energy company Ørsted – will be able to power up to half a million homes. It will be the third large-scale offshore wind project in the nation, the other two being Vineyard Wind in Massachusetts and South Fork in Rhode Island.

“Ørsted is thrilled that we have reached this important permitting milestone for the Ocean Wind project,” reads a statement from David Hardy, the CEO of Ørsted Offshore North America. “It’s a great day for the U.S. offshore wind industry and for all New Jerseyans.”

State environmental officials are currently considering applications for a mammoth, 2,400-megawatt offshore wind project. Ørsted is seeking developer rights, as is Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, a joint venture between Shell New Energies US LLC and EDF Renewables.

“This bold agenda to develop offshore wind in the United States will create tens of thousands of jobs and build a more robust green energy economy in this country,” reads a statement from Joris Veldhoven, the commercial director at Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind.

“The investments in strengthening port infrastructure and the domestic supply chain will open communities across the coastal U.S. up to tremendous economic opportunity on the international stage.”

The announcement calls for a data-sharing agreement between Ørsted and the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to “fill gaps in ocean science areas” such as ocean mapping.

And the plan calls for the creation of a so-called “wind energy area,” which would span 800,000 acres in the waters that make up the “New York Bright,” stretching from Long Island and the Jersey Shore.

Federal officials are eyeing the area to generate up to 30,000 megawatts from offshore wind turbines.

“Expanding our clean energy sector must be a core component of any sustainable green jobs recovery in New Jersey that builds a stronger, fairer and more equitable 21st-century economy for all New Jerseyans,” said Ed Potosnak, who heads the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, a state environmental advocacy group.

In addition to the offshore wind farms, the state is moving ahead with a 200-acre “wind port” in Salem County, from which the state would ship out wind turbine components to the rest of the country.

And the state is pushing ahead a $250 million manufacturing facility for the wind turbines, based in Camden County along the Delaware River.

“Today’s announcement by the Biden administration represents a major milestone in the advancement of the Ocean Wind project, which will help to cement New Jersey’s position as the capital of American offshore wind and pave the way to long-term, equitable growth in our clean energy economy,” said New Jersey Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan.