Atlantic Shores submits offshore wind project bid — that includes $19M commitment to job training, education

white wind turbine generating electricity on sea

Saying its first project could be completed as soon as 2027, Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind submitted a proposal to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities on Thursday to supply the state with up to 2,300 megawatts of renewable wind energy.

If awarded, Atlantic Shores said the largest-sized project in its bid could yield a 16% reduction in the state’s carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation by powering the equivalent of nearly 1 million homes. More than that, the bid contains more than $19 million in investments in various workforce development and training projects with Rutgers and Rowan, among others.

The state seeks to award between 1,200 MW and 2,400 MW of offshore wind energy projects as part of its second solicitation.

Atlantic Shores is a 50-50 joint venture between EDF Renewables North America and Shell New Energies U.S.

Development Director Jennifer Davis said the company is poised to be a strong player in the industry.

“As the holder of one of the largest offshore wind leases in the United States, Atlantic Shores has an incredible opportunity to help meet New Jersey’s demand for clean, affordable energy within our 180,000 acres,” she said. “Our project, backed by the technical, operational and development expertise of our team and the financial backing of global energy parent companies, is well positioned to serve New Jersey ratepayers best.

“Offshore wind can propel a dynamic and fast-growing new economy on the East Coast, and we are committed to helping build it first in New Jersey. We are confident that, if the project is selected, Atlantic Shores will help New Jersey to deliver on its vision of a clean energy future.”

In its bid, Atlantic Shores has also put forth an innovation plan extending beyond offshore wind, which would help New Jersey meets its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 as outlined in its 2019 Energy Master Plan.

As parts of its broad innovation plan, Atlantic Shores will leverage the technical capabilities of its parent companies and collaborate with academic partners and companies in New Jersey to explore commercial pathways for battery storage.

Atlantic Shores has also committed to support the development of a 5 to 10 MW green hydrogen pilot project to improve the understanding and expertise on how green hydrogen can support the decarbonization of large industrial sectors.

In addition, Atlantic Shores also rolled out several key partnerships as part of its bid to further offshore wind workforce development and education in New Jersey, to help prepare local workers for the hundreds of future jobs its project will create if selected.

Some of these new partnerships within the bid include initiatives with Rutgers University, Rowan College at Burlington County, the Barnegat Bay Partnership, the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City and workforce training with several manufacturers and suppliers. The series of investments comes in advance of an expected boom in the offshore wind industry post-COVID, helping make New Jersey a leading incubator center for clean energy innovations as the offshore wind supply chain for the Atlantic seaboard looks to gravitate here and hire locally.

Commercial Director Joris Veldhoven said the company was thrilled to announce a number of direct investments in workforce development.

“(These will be) initiatives alongside our bid, with institutions leading in clean energy fields like Rutgers and Rowan, in addition to workforce training with our supply chain partners,” he said. “These partnerships will help build strong local talent pools for Atlantic Shores, at the same time enabling New Jersey workers to be on the ground floor of a massive new industry. We look forward to furthering our investment in partnerships like these for many years to come.”

Included among the bid:

  • Through its partnership with Rutgers, Atlantic Shores will help fund the Rutgers Future Scholars program in offshore wind, providing yearly scholarships for first-generation, low-income students;
  • Atlantic Shores also will fund a number of companies within the Minority & Women Owned Business Incubator at the Rutgers EcoComplex in Bordentown, which is working to transition clean energy startups into successful real-world applications;
  • At Rowan College in Burlington County, Atlantic Shores will commit to providing funding for approximately 30 yearly scholarships for Rowan’s programs in Energy Industry Fundamentals, Transportation, Logistics and Distribution/Supply Chain, Manufacturing Machinist, and other workforce training programs that align with offshore wind industry needs;
  • To support environmental health near its lease area, Atlantic Shores is offering financial support to multiple initiatives with the Barnegat Bay Partnership, such as its Paddle for the Edge Program, and will sponsor Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math programs with the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City for the next eight years.

If the Atlantic Shores bid is selected, the developer intends to utilize the state’s New Jersey Wind Port for staging and marshalling as the port is built over the next several years. The developer also will execute significant investments during construction and operations phases to create hundreds of well-paid jobs for New Jersey residents and further expand New Jersey’s supply chain offerings.

Bill Sproule, executive secretary treasurer of the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, said the union is pleased to have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Atlantic Shores.

“They appreciate the value our unions have to offer offshore wind as well as the need to train New Jersey organized labor for offshore jobs,” he said. “Atlantic Shores is taking a proactive approach to working with local unions through signing this agreement, and we look forward to our future together.”