Ocean Wind 1 project moves forward; BOEM completes environmental analysis

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on Monday said it completed its environmental analysis of the proposed Ocean Wind 1 wind project off the New Jersey Shore. BOEM said Ocean Wind could power up to a half-million homes with clean renewable energy.

“BOEM continues to make progress towards a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a new clean energy industry in the United States,” BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein said. “Offshore wind is a critical component of the (President Joe) Biden-(Vice President Kamala) Harris administration’s strategy to tackle the climate crisis, while creating good-paying jobs and ensuring economic opportunities are accessible to all communities.”

Ocean Wind LLC said it will construct up to 98 wind turbine generators and up to three offshore substations within its lease area.

At its closest point, the Ocean Wind 1 project will be at least 13 nautical miles southeast of Atlantic City. Export cables are anticipated to make landfall in Ocean County and Cape May County. If all 98 WTGs are approved for installation, the estimated capacity range will be from 1,215 to 1,440 megawatts, capable of powering up to 504,000 homes per year.

If approved, Ocean Wind 1 will be the third commercial-scale offshore wind project located on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf approved by the Biden administration.

A “Notice of Availability” for the final Environmental Impact Statement for Ocean Wind’s Proposed Wind Energy Facility Offshore New Jersey will be published in the Federal Register on Friday. The final EIS analyzes the potential environmental impacts of the activities laid out in Ocean Wind LLC’s Construction and Operations Plan. The final EIS is available on BOEM’s website.

On June 24, 2022, BOEM published a draft EIS, initiating a 45-day public comment period, which was later extended until Aug. 23, 2022.

BOEM also held three virtual public hearings to solicit additional feedback on the draft EIS from Tribal nations, local community members, commercial fishing interests and other ocean users. BOEM received a total of 1,389 comment submissions from federal, Tribal, state and local government agencies; nongovernmental organizations; and the general public during the comment period.

BOEM considered these comments and stakeholders’ feedback 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.

BOEM plans to issue a Record of Decision on whether to approve the proposed project this summer. The ROD is the conclusion of the National Environmental Policy Act EIS process.