Ocean Wind Pro-NJ Grantor Trust awards $3.9M to support resiliency, infrastructure projects

Toy windmills cut from five major world currency banknotes over blue sky

The Ocean Wind Pro-NJ Grantor Trust will award $3.9 million to seven municipalities in Cape May, Atlantic and Ocean counties in support of coastal infrastructure and resiliency projects to combat tidal flooding and erosion issues that negatively impact residents’ public health and safety.

The trust is a $15 million fund established by Ocean Wind 1 following its selection by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities in June 2019 as New Jersey’s first offshore wind farm.

In addition to providing funding for coastal resiliency projects, the trust offers small, women-owned and minority-owned businesses support in reconfiguring or adapting their businesses to participate in the developing offshore wind industry, with the goal of ensuring that the offshore wind industry in New Jersey is developed in a sustainable and inclusive way.

Trust Chair Beverly McCall said the need is there.

“Mitigating the effects of tidal flooding, severe weather events and coastal erosion is vital in maintaining quality of life, public safety and public health for our coastal communities,” she said. “The initial response that we received from municipalities was a clear indicator of just how desperately these funds are needed.

“By allocating additional funds to this coastal resiliency round, the trust is pleased to be able to provide support to ensure that these seven municipalities see their resiliency and mitigation projects to completion — a critical step in increasing our state’s climate resiliency.”

Grant recipients and funded projects, several of which are also receiving funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, are as follows:

  • Borough of Avalon: $600,000 to construct a stormwater collection system within a drainage area near Avalon Avenue, between 14th Street and 8th Street;
  • Township of Little Egg Harbor: $719,250 to support resiliency improvements along several waterfront streets off of Great Bay Boulevard, include the bulkheading of Daddy Tucker Drive, installation of new storm drainage infrastructure and tidal valves, and the reconstruction of roadways to elevate them above flood levels;
  • Borough of Longport: $368,750 to replace and upgrade stormwater piping along Winchester Avenue and sections of 34th Avenue, in addition to replacing pumping equipment and the construction of a new pumping station by 31st Avenue and the bay;
  • City of Margate: $446,880 to construct a new, submersible stormwater pump station near the intersection of Adams Avenue and Amherst Avenue, and to construct a sewer interconnection from Washington Avenue to the underground vault;
  • City of North Wildwood: $507,600 to support a flood mitigation infrastructure project located at the bay front public park along Beach Creek and 4th and 5th avenues;
  • City of Ventnor: $546,003 to replace 500 linear feet of failing bulkhead that protects a residential area and water infrastructure under Winchester Avenue and reconstruct the roadway, including sidewalk and curbing replacement;
  • City of Wildwood: $678,015 to build upon a FEMA-funded pump station, completed in 2020, with the addition of three elements, including: a living shoreline along Mediterranean Avenue and West Andrews Avenue; the replacement and supplementation of failing bulkheads with vinyl bulkheads at several points along Otten’s Harbor; and the replacement of a crushed drainage pipe in the vicinity of the project.

All seven projects have expected completion dates on or before May 2025.

Maddy Urbish, head of government affairs and marketing strategy, for Ørsted in New Jersey, said these funds will enable important resiliency projects to come to fruition.

“We commend the time-consuming, thoughtful work of the trustees and Advisory Committee members in reviewing all the proposals and developing this meaningful plan and accompanying financial response,” she said.

The trust had originally earmarked $3.5 million to help mitigate the impacts of severe weather occurrences and flooding to increase resiliency and help municipalities and counties better respond to natural disasters.

The initial call for expressions of interest resulted in 17 requests totaling nearly $19 million, more than five times the amount the trust set aside for the resiliency round. Seven of the 17 applicants were invited to submit formal applications. Following a comprehensive review led by the trustees and the trust’s nine-person volunteer Advisory Board, the trust decided to increase the allocated funds to $3.9 million to fully fund all seven requests and bring the projects to completion.

Lathrop Craig, the chief commercial officer for Public Service Enterprise Group, said the company was eager to be a part of the process.

“In partnership with Ørsted, we join in recognizing the work of the trustees and Advisory Committee members,” he said. “The early review process is a critical aspect to helping determine the final awarding of funds.

“We are proud to help support coastal resiliency projects that will benefit these coastal communities.”

Ørsted and PSEG are partners on Ocean Wind 1.

Details surrounding the trust’s next Request for Expressions for Interest directed toward New Jersey’s small, women-owned and minority-owned businesses will be published soon here.