N.J. solidifies role as hub of offshore wind energy with latest BPU awards

Combined awards of 2,658 MW to Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind and Ørsted’s Ocean Wind II put state halfway to goal

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities on Wednesday awarded a combined 2,658 megawatts of offshore wind capacity to EDF/Shell’s Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind and Ørsted’s Ocean Wind II.

The awards bring the state’s total planned capacity to more than 3,700 MW — or approximately half of Gov. Phil Murphy’s goal of 7,500 MW of offshore wind by 2035.

Here’s what those numbers really mean:

The energy produced by these two awards will supply power to 1.1 million homes in the state — in addition to the 500,000 homes that will be energized by the first award.

“This is a very exciting day for New Jersey,” BPU President Joe Fiordaliso said. “Not only for us, currently here, but for subsequent generations — our children, our grandchildren and their children.”

The number of homes that eventually will be powered by offshore wind will only grow, Fiordaliso said.

Fiordaliso said the BPU anticipates opening a third solicitation for offshore wind of at least 1,200 megawatts in 2022 — and said the BPU expects to have solicitations every two years until 2028, when the state will reach 7,500 megawatts.

Fiordaliso said he anticipates all turbines being in the water by 2035.

The awards mean more than just energy; they bring tens of thousands of jobs, too.

The companies that were given Wednesday’s awards both have committed to investing in New Jersey’s burgeoning offshore wind industry by building new manufacturing facilities at the New Jersey Wind Port, utilizing the foundation manufacturing facility at the Port of Paulsboro.

In addition, Fiordaliso said the companies will make a $10,000-per-megawatt contribution for research initiatives to protect wildlife and commercial fishing in the area. Fiordaliso said the BPU and the Department of Environmental Protection will manage a $26 million fund to oversee initiatives.

Murphy said the was thrilled to make the announcement.

“Expanding New Jersey’s offshore wind industry is a major component of achieving our goal of 100% clean energy by 2050, while providing significant opportunities and economic benefits for our state,” he said. “By leveraging a whole-of-government approach and the strengths of our state, this award ensures that our investment in clean energy is also an investment in our communities, and will generate good-paying, union jobs and bring valuable investments to New Jersey.

“Today’s award, which is the nation’s largest combined award to date, further solidifies New Jersey as an offshore wind supply chain hub and leader in the offshore wind industry in the United States.”

David Hardy, CEO of Ørsted Offshore North America, said the awards are significant for offshore wind energy — and New Jersey’s role in the industry.

“New Jersey is now firmly at the heart of the American offshore wind industry,” he said. “We thank the BPU and Gov. Murphy for having the confidence in Ørsted to deliver over 2,000 MW of offshore wind energy, and for further strengthening the partnership between our company and the Garden State.

“We’re thrilled to grow this global industry alongside the state of New Jersey, as well as help all communities in the state benefit from the offshore wind industry.”

Joris Veldhoven, commercial and finance director at Atlantic Shores, shared the enthusiasm.

“We are thrilled to be moving forward with our project and cementing our commitment to deliver clean, renewable power and well-paid jobs to the Garden State for years to come,” he said. “As offshore wind prepares to take off in the United States, this is a critical moment to lay the groundwork for workforce training and supply chain development.

“Our robust project includes a number of essential initiatives to train local workers and bring manufacturing jobs to the state that will ensure New Jersey workers and the local economy reap tremendous benefits.”

Atlantic Shores’ project, which aims to begin construction in 2024, includes a number of essential investments and initiatives, including an agreement to train and hire local workers for the construction and maintenance of the wind project, an innovative 10MW green hydrogen pilot with South Jersey Industries and a turbine nacelle assembly center at the New Jersey Wind Port. Over its lifetime, the wind project will create thousands of well-paying jobs.

The announcement drew a number of reactions; here are some:

  • Mike Renna, SJI CEO: “South Jersey Industries is excited to be part of Atlantic Shores’ winning project to develop 1,510 MW in clean, renewable wind energy for our state. Our partnership on a green hydrogen pilot project will be essential to unlocking additional decarbonized energy sources for New Jersey and diversifying our renewable energy mix. We look forward to collaborating on this innovative project, making New Jersey a national leader in the green economy.”
  • Greg Lalevee, business manager at International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825: “This award is a win for workers across New Jersey who will be poised to lead in our state’s offshore wind and the burgeoning green economy as a result of Atlantic Shores’ commitment to job training. Union labor built New Jersey, and now it will build its offshore wind industry, as well.”
  • Janice Fuller, president, Mid-Atlantic, Anbaric Development Partners: “New Jersey’s continued commitment to the robust development of offshore wind underscores the need for an efficient, resilient, planned transmission system. And, through the current PJM SAA solicitation, New Jersey is poised to receive proposals to accomplish that goal and be a national leader in all aspects of offshore wind development.”
  • Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey: “In the middle of a heat wave, the timing is perfect for the NJBPU to double down on offshore wind and expand New Jersey’s commitment to a clean, renewable energy future. Offshore wind is our best bet to power our state’s economy with clean energy and reduce our climate and air pollution from our power sector. New Jersey has been sitting on a gold mine of offshore wind that has been untapped off the Shore, and today’s announcement will expand the number of companies that will construct offshore wind turbines.”
  • Debra Coyle McFadden, executive director of New Jersey Work Environment Council: “The importance of this can’t be understated as we think about creating a domestic manufacturing supply chain. Traditionally, good, union manufacturing jobs have been the key to a strong middle class. Kudos to Gov. Murphy for continuing to make offshore wind a priority.”