A new manufacturing hub announced Dec. 22 for South Jersey could help fuel the growing demand for the offshore wind sector, both in the state and nationwide.
The proposed $250 million factory will be located at the Paulsboro Marine Terminal in the South Jersey Port Corporation’s facilities in Paulsboro, as part of a deal with Danish offshore wind company Ørsted and German pipe manufacturer the EEW Group, who would base their operations out of the port.
Groundbreaking is slated for January 2021, and production is slated to start two years later. State officials estimate that the facility could lead to another 500 full-time positions. The port is being built on the former site of the oil and gas giant BP and had to undergo extensive environmental clean up.
With the state still reeling from the years-long effects of the COVID-19 recession, the offshore wind industry could be just the shot in the arm needed to kickstart the state’s economy in the years to come.
“This spot upon which we are standing will soon be the site of a state-of-the-art factory which will turn out steel components not just for the offshore wind farms to come off of our own coast but for the offshore wind industry nationwide,” Gov. Phil Murphy said during the Tuesday press announcement.
“This is the largest investment in offshore wind manufacturing in the United States to date,” the governor continued. “This is the essence of what strong, public-private partnerships can do for our state’s economy.”
EWW would handle the production of the steel components of the turbines, known as monopiles, which hoist up the structure of the turbine.
The steel pipes measure 40-foot in diameter and 400-foot in length, according to Lee Laurendeau, chief executive officer of EEW American Offshore Structures.
“This state-of-the-art factory will be a catalyst for change in Paulsboro and the surrounding area,” Laurendeau said in a prepared statement from Murphy’s office. And, he added, it would help “secure New Jersey’s position as the manufacturing epicenter of the emerging offshore wind industry.”
In June, the administration unveiled a 200-acre dedicated “wind port” in Salem County, along the Delaware Bay, and from which the state would ship out wind turbine components to the rest of the country.
Additionally, the state has ambitions to generate 100% of its energy from clean and renewable sources by 2050, including 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035.
Ørsted is developing a 1,100-megawatt wind farm 15 miles off the coast of Atlantic City, known as Ocean Wind.
It, along with Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind – a joint venture between EDF Renewables and oil company Shell – submitted bids to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities for a second round of projects that could generate 2,400 and 2,300 megawatts respectively.