New Jersey’s Ocean Wind project takes next step: LOI signed with Ørsted

Partnership will create over 200 direct jobs and hundreds of indirect jobs at New Jersey Wind Port

Twitter/Gov. Phil Murphy A logo for the new Wind Port project.

Just days after the first three major construction award contracts were announced for the 1,100-megawatt Ocean Wind 1 offshore project, Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday said the New Jersey Economic Development Authority signed a Letter of Intent with Ørsted Offshore North America for the state’s first offshore wind project.

When the Ocean Wind 1 project was initially approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities in June 2019, this approval was based on the project utilizing an existing out-of-state port to marshal the project.

Following the state’s groundbreaking investment in developing the first purpose-built port for offshore wind in the U.S., the project seized the opportunity to utilize the New Jersey Wind Port, being the first to officially join the state’s effort to develop the nation-leading wind power supply chain. This announcement is anticipated to create over 200 pre-assembly, loadout and stevedoring jobs in South Jersey, and hundreds of indirect jobs.

Thursday’s announcement was made during Murphy’s keynote address at the Business Network for Offshore Wind’s International Partnering Forum in Atlantic City. It delivers on the promise of the New Jersey Wind Port as a key infrastructure asset that will be an economic driver in Salem County and throughout the state.

“The New Jersey Wind Port is a historic and catalytic investment. As a state, we’ve committed more than $500 million to build the essential infrastructure required to install offshore wind projects from our shores. This investment is enabling both clean energy projects and New Jersey’s long-term economic growth,” Murphy said. “Today’s announcement with Ørsted is proof that our strategy to establish New Jersey as a national leader in offshore wind is working, and brings us a step closer to achieving our goal of 100% clean energy by 2050.”

Ocean Wind 1 is a joint venture between Ørsted and Public Service Enterprise Group, which provides electricity for much of New Jersey. Those groups on Monday announced Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co. and Jingoli Power have been contracted to install two high-voltage substations, along with almost nine miles of underground cable, that will connect the offshore wind farm to the onshore electric grid at two landfall points near Atlantic City.

“As the nation’s leading offshore wind energy company, Ørsted is committed to transforming ambition into action in order to create a world that runs entirely on green energy,” Ørsted Offshore North American CEO David Hardy said. “New Jersey is on the forefront of wind energy technology, and, through our partnership, the Ocean Wind 1 project will deliver hundreds of jobs, clean energy and transformative infrastructure to the region.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Ocean Wind 1 to Salem County as the New Jersey Wind Port’s first tenant. By partnering with Ørsted and PSEG, the New Jersey Wind Port will create hundreds of high-quality jobs and will drive millions of dollars of investment back into our communities,” NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan said. “As we look towards the future, investing in New Jersey’s green economy has never been more important, and today’s announcement is a testament to Gov. Murphy’s groundbreaking vision for establishing New Jersey as a purpose-driven, global green energy leader.”

Sullivan added that the NJEDA contracted with Rutgers University to conduct a disparity study to ensure meaningful inclusion of minority, woman and veteran business enterprises in the Wind Port project. The NJEDA’s project delivery approach includes a focus on inclusion and supplier diversity, with a goal of 15% of total construction value to be subcontracted to minority-, women- and veteran-owned firms and a target for 18% minority and 6.9% women workers on site.

NJEDA has been collaborating with Salem County stakeholders on initiatives to support access to the offshore wind industry for small businesses and local residents. Recently, the NJEDA board approved an agreement with Salem County Vocational Technical School for the NJEDA to provide up to $200,000 to support the expansion of programs that will prepare students and workers for jobs in heavy steel offshore wind component manufacturing.

This effort is complementary to a similar agreement between the NJEDA and Gloucester County Institute of Technology, and part of a larger workforce development strategy that includes the development of the Wind Institute, and related fellowship programs and university initiatives.