The Murphy administration is unveiling a so-called “New Jersey Wind Port” deep in South Jersey, which will serve as the staging area for the state’s burgeoning offshore wind industry, and a site where wind turbines will be produced.
According to Gov. Phil Murphy, the port will be situated in lower Alloway Creek Township in Salem County, adjacent to PSEG’s Hope Creek Nuclear Generation Station – PSEG owns the property where the new facilities will be built.
The site was chosen for the ease with which towering, completed turbines could be shipped out without physically hitting and damaging nearby infrastructures like bridges or wires, according to Tim Sullivan, head of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. And it’s far from any residential areas so as not to disrupt any quality of life.
The Wind Port will include a 25-acre manufacturing site, where offshore wind turbines will be built. It will also include a 30-acre staging area to move them to the state’s wind farms off the coast of Atlantic City.
“This is a part of the state that needs economic development,” the governor said at an unrelated press conference in Trenton Tuesday morning. “With [the New Jersey Wind Port] we will take full advantage of our world-leading and central geographic location to drive the growth of a new industry right here”
It would be the nation’s first-ever wind port, Murphy said, who called it a “once-in-a-generation opportunity.”
And it would mark the chance to fuel an economic recovery for the state as it reels from the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing national recession.
“As we restart from the pandemic, I do not want to see our state simply get back to where we were before COVID-19 in almost any respect,” Murphy said. “I want to see us move far beyond to a place that we have never been before. The emerging offshore wind industry is one that gives us this tremendous growth potential.”
Construction is earmarked to start within the first three months of 2021 at the earliest, Sullivan said. Costs would come in at between $300 million and $400 million, and the NJEDA would head the development.
The Wind Port would permanently employ up to 1,500 workers in manufacturing, assembly and operations, and generate up to $500 million of economic activity for the region, Sullivan said, which drew the nod of approval from some of the state’s labor unions, and construction and trade groups.
Emphasis would be on hiring and contracting with women and minority-owned businesses.
The marshalling and manufacturing sites make up the first stage of the project, slated for completion by 2023. The second phase of construction, which runs between 2024 and 2026, includes another 160 acres of marshalling and manufacturing space.
Under an order Murphy signed in November, the state is pushing toward a goal of a capacity to produce 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035, on top of a 100 percent clean energy goal for the state by 2050.
Last June, the state’s Board of Public Utilities approved Denmark-based Orsted’s bid to develop 1,100 MW of wind energy 15 miles off the coast of Atlantic City.
That project alone, called Ocean Wind, could generate $1.17 billion of economic benefits and power 500,000 New Jersey homes once completed in 2024.
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 8:16 a.m. EST on June 17, 2020, to include additional comments from Gov. Phil Murphy and NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan.