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New Jersey's Coastal Waters to Be Site of U.S.'s Third Major Offshore Wind Project

Mon July 10, 2023 - Northeast Edition #15
U.S. Department of the Interior & Ørsted

Ocean Wind 1 will kickstart New Jersey’s role in the American offshore wind industry, powering approximately 500,000 homes with reliable renewable energy when it begins commercial operations in 2025. (Ørsted photo)
Ocean Wind 1 will kickstart New Jersey’s role in the American offshore wind industry, powering approximately 500,000 homes with reliable renewable energy when it begins commercial operations in 2025. (Ørsted photo)

The federal Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced July 5 that it had approved a plan for the construction and operation of the Ocean Wind 1 project in the Atlantic Ocean off the New Jersey coast, about 13 nautical miles southeast of Atlantic City.

When complete, the wind energy project will have an estimated capacity of 1,100 megawatts of clean energy — capable of powering more than 380,000 homes — and is expected to create more than 3,000 good-paying jobs through its development and a three-year construction cycle.

The news marks the Biden-Harris Administration's third approval of a commercial-scale, offshore wind project in the United States, joining the Vineyard Wind project offshore Massachusetts and the South Fork Wind project offshore Rhode Island and New York, both now under construction and being built by union labor.

These projects represent considerable progress toward President Biden's goals of developing 30 gigawatts of clean, renewable offshore wind energy by the year 2030, while protecting biodiversity and multiple uses of the ocean.

"Since day one, the Biden-Harris Administration has worked to jump-start the offshore wind industry across the country — and today's approval for the Ocean Wind 1 project is another milestone in our efforts to create good-paying union jobs while combatting climate change and powering our nation," said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

"Ocean Wind 1 represents another significant step forward for the offshore wind industry in the United States," noted BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein. "The project's approval demonstrates the federal government's commitment to developing clean energy and fighting climate change and is a testament to the state of New Jersey's leadership in supporting sustainable sources of energy and economic development for coastal communities."

The news of its approval means Ocean Wind 1 remains on track to begin onshore construction activities this fall, with offshore construction ramping up in 2024 under the direction of Ørsted, the global clean energy contractor that develops, constructs and operates offshore and land-based wind farms, solar farms, energy storage facilities and bioenergy plants.

Ocean Wind 1 is expected to begin delivering clean energy to New Jersey in 2025, Ørsted said on its website.

Careful Measures Taken to Lessen Wind Project's Impact

According to the Record of Decision (ROD) to approve Ocean Wind LLC's plan, up to 98 wind turbines and as many as three offshore substations can now be built within its lease area off New Jersey.

The ROD also documents the extensive range of monitoring and mitigation measures that Ocean Wind will undertake to reduce the potential for impacts to protected species, such as marine mammals, sea turtles and Atlantic sturgeon. Among the measures are vessel speed restrictions and clearance zones during construction.

Ocean Wind also has committed to three fisheries mitigation programs: a direct compensation program for reimbursement of lost revenues, a navigational safety fund for navigation equipment upgrades and a reimbursement program for lost or damaged commercial fishing gear.

For its part, BOEM did its due diligence in working with federal, state, local and tribal agencies and reviewed comments provided by industry, ocean users and other key partners and stakeholders to develop these measures.

In June 2021, the bureau held consultation meetings with Delaware Nation and Delaware Tribe of Indians, and, in November 2022, with Delaware Tribe of Indians and the Shinnecock Indian Nation about the offshore wind project.

Additionally, five meetings also were held by BOEM as part of the National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 process with 37 consulting parties (made up of Tribal nations, federal and state agencies, local governments, nongovernmental organizations, private property owners and the lessee), to identify avoidance and mitigation measures for potential impacts to historic and cultural resources and properties.

BOEM considered the information obtained from these meetings when developing the final EIS, a critical step to ensure the project can move forward while balancing the needs and interests of everyone who may be affected by the development.

"By working closely with state and local leaders, Tribes, ocean users and other stakeholders, we are moving forward with responsible clean energy development that will benefit communities, while also mitigating potential impacts on the environment or marine life," explained Haaland.

Clean Energy Investments One Part of ‘Bidenomics' Strategy

The Interior Department noted that President Biden's Investing in America agenda and "Bidenomics" strategy are growing the American economy from the middle out and bottom up — from rebuilding the nation's infrastructure, to driving over $490 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States, to creating good paying jobs and building a clean energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.

The Administration is making a once-in-a-generation investment in America's infrastructure and our clean energy future and taking the next steps to bring offshore wind energy to additional areas around the country, the federal agency explained.

"Construction is already under way on two wind projects off the coasts of Massachusetts and New York. Today's announcement gives the greenlight for construction of another," White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi said in the Interior Department-released statement.

"This [latest] project, off the coast of New Jersey, will supply enough energy on its own to power nearly half a million homes. This massive expansion in clean energy construction didn't just happen. It's not an accident. It's Bidenomics in action — big, bold and building things."

In the past two years, the Biden-Harris Administration has made progress toward catalyzing a new clean energy industry by investing in workers and communities, while protecting biodiversity and ocean co-use, the Interior Department noted. BOEM expects to review at least 16 Construction and Operations Plans of commercial, offshore wind energy facilities by 2025, which would represent more than 27 GW of clean energy for the nation.

"Thanks to President Biden's leadership, the United States will keep seizing opportunities for offshore wind and other clean energy technologies, strengthening our energy security and advancing our climate goals, all while creating good-paying jobs up and down the manufacturing supply chain," added Zaidi.

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