Ocean Wind 1 moves closer to construction start

Matthew Fazelpoor//May 23, 2023//

Offshore Wind
Offshore Wind

Ocean Wind 1 moves closer to construction start

Matthew Fazelpoor//May 23, 2023//

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New Jersey’s first offshore wind project marked a major milestone May 22 as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced it completed its environmental analysis of the proposed Ocean Wind 1 off the coast of Atlantic City.

The wind farm, which is being developed by Ørsted, calls for the construction of up to 98 wind turbine generators (WTGs) and up to three offshore substations within its lease area. BOEM says that at its closest point, the Ocean Wind 1 project will be at least 13 nautical miles southeast of Atlantic City, with export cables planned to make landfall in Ocean and Cape May counties.

The agency adds that if all 98 WTGs are approved for installation, the estimated capacity range will be from 1,215 megawatts to 1,440 megawatts, capable of powering up to 504,000 homes each year.

If approved, it would also mark the third commercial-scale offshore wind project located on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf approved by the Biden-Harris Administration.

The announcement comes on the heels of another offshore wind project, Atlantic Shores South, having its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) released by BOEM last week. It also comes amid a number of notable developments in the burgeoning sector, including controversy and even hearings surrounding a rash of marine deaths, which NJBIZ reported this week.

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“BOEM continues to make progress towards a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a new clean energy industry in the United States,” said BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein. “Offshore wind is a critical component of the Biden-Harris Administration’s strategy to tackle the climate crisis, while creating good-paying jobs and ensuring economic opportunities are accessible to all communities.”

The final EIS analyzes the potential environmental impacts of the activities laid out in Ocean Wind LLC’s Construction and Operations Plan. Available on BOEM’s website, the report took into account 1,389 submissions received during the comment period, which included three virtual public hearings, from federal, tribal, state and local government agencies; non-governmental organizations; and the general public.

A “Notice of Availability” for the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed project will be published May 26 in the Federal Register.

“Ocean Wind 1 continues to advance through the multi-year federal permitting process, and we’re pleased to reach this latest milestone, the issuance of BOEM’s final Environmental Impact Statement,” Maddy Urbish, Ørsted’s head of government affairs and market strategy, New Jersey, told NJBIZ in a statement. “Ocean Wind 1 anticipates onshore construction beginning in the fall and offshore construction activities ramping up in 2024.”

The next step takes place this summer when BOEM plans to issue a Record of Decision (ROD) – the conclusion of National Environmental Policy Act EIS process – on whether to approve the proposed project.