Another big step for off-shore wind: Ørsted to lease 34 acres at Wind Port, create thousands of jobs

Agreement expected to lead to 200 new high-skilled jobs, over $25 million in expected revenue for state

The good news: The state’s push for off-shore wind could mean a big plus for its clean energy efforts in the future. The better news: It definitely means a big plus for clean-energy jobs now.

On Wednesday, the state took another step toward that immediate reality when the board of the Economic Development Authority approved the EPA entering into development and sublease agreements with Ørsted Wind Power North America for the sublease of up to 34 acres of property at the New Jersey Wind Port.

Ørsted will be the NJWP’s inaugural tenant and expects to create up to 200 jobs over its lease term. Orsted’s Ocean Wind 1 project is expected to create over 15,000 jobs over its 25-year operational life.

EDA CEO Tim Sullivan said the impact of the agreement will be significant in a number of ways.

“The board’s approval serves as another major step forward in achieving Governor Murphy’s 11 GW offshore wind target, and cements New Jersey’s reputation as a national leader in offshore wind,” he said. “Ørsted’s decision to marshal its Ocean Wind 1 project from the New Jersey Wind Port will create 200 jobs that would otherwise have gone to other states – and it is the first of many projects that will use the Port in the years and decades ahead that will create jobs for our children, further our clean energy goals, and ensure a more resilient environment and economy.

“I appreciate the men and women in organized labor who have invested over 250,000 hours thus far in the construction of the Wind Port and look forward to our continued partnership as we work toward its completion.”

Maddy Urbish, head of government affairs and market strategy in N.J. for Ørsted, obviously was thrilled.

“We are pleased to help the state achieve its clean energy goals and are proud to be the New Jersey Wind Port’s inaugural tenant, creating clean energy jobs and economic development opportunities,” she said. “With onshore construction beginning this fall and offshore construction starting next year, Ocean Wind 1 looks forward to providing reliable offshore wind energy to New Jersey and the region when complete.”

Ørsted will sublease up to 34 acres of property at the Port for up to two years. Assuming a 24-month sublease term, total rent paid by Ørsted is estimated at over $25 million, representing a strong financial result for New Jersey taxpayers.

Importantly, the agreement with Ørsted includes a mechanism for shared berth use, preserving the NJWP’s ability to attract manufacturing tenants who require access to purpose-built wharves to ship out completed components.

The NJWP, once complete, will be the first and largest facility of its kind in the U.S. With a shortfall in fit-for-purpose port capacity in the U.S, the NJWP is expected to support offshore wind projects up and down the U.S East Coast including serving as a regional hub for turbine component manufacturing. At over 220 acres, the port can accommodate multiple Tier 1 component manufacturers, such as blades, nacelles, towers, and cables.

And then there are the jobs.

“I look forward to this project continuing to advance and become the much-needed economic stimulus for South Jersey,” Dan Cosner, business manager and financial secretary of Electrical Workers Local Union 351.

“This will be a catalyst for the men and women of the South Jersey building trades, which in turn will help grow the local economy with the union wages that are being paid. I am very grateful for all those who made this a reality and continue to make sure this worthwhile project stays on track.”

State Senator Bob Smith (D-Middlesex), one of the leaders on energy issues and policy in the state, called it a win-win.

“There are immense economic, workforce development, and clean energy benefits anticipated to come with offshore wind development,” he said. “Every step forward we make validates the hard work that the Legislature and the Murphy administration have undertaken to make the state an attractive partner for offshore wind developers.”

The EDA first issued a notice to sublease in November 2020. Ørsted submitted a non-binding offer in December of that year. The two parties executed a Letter of Intent in April 2022 and have since been negotiating final terms.

The property being subleased to Orsted is owned by PSEG Nuclear and is being leased by NJEDA from PSEG Nuclear on a 78-year basis. Earlier this month, Governor Murphy signed legislation allowing Ørsted to access federal tax credits that will enable them to complete Ocean Wind 1, the first of two energy projects the developer plans in New Jersey.