Ørsted official: Ocean Wind 1 remains on schedule for 2025

Program director says project has not slowed or paused any planned activity and that it will be operational before expected commission date in 2026

Hina Kazmi, the Ocean Wind 1 program director for Ørsted, said the company has not slowed or paused any planned activity related to the project — and set a timeline for the next three years that includes it coming online in 2025.

“Ocean Wind 1 continues to advance, with onshore construction beginning in the next few weeks and offshore construction expected to ramp up in 2024,” she said in a statement released Friday. “We have not slowed down or paused any planned project activity. Ocean Wind 1 remains on schedule for operations in 2025, with final commissioning in the first quarter of 2026.

“Further evidence of the project’s progress is visible at the Operations and Maintenance facility under construction in Atlantic City, to be completed in 2024, and at the Paulsboro Marine Terminal, where monopiles are being readied at the nation’s first monopile fabrication facility.”

Kazmi seemingly clarified some of the remarks by Ørsted CEO Mads Nipper — who said during a conference call earlier last week that Ocean Wind 1 was being delayed until 2026 due to supply chain issues and higher interest rates.

The timeline is tricky.

The project is expected to come online in phases. The company has said approximately 85% of the turbines will be installed in 2025. At that time, turbines will be energized, providing clean energy into the grid. The final round of turbine commissioning will occur in the first quarter of 2026.

Commissioning indicates the project has completed the construction phase and has moved to the operations phase — but the project can be operating before the commissioning date.

The clarification comes days after Hardy said the company has discussed abandoning the project, to be built in waters off of Atlantic City and Ocean City, but ultimately decided the project can be profitable in the long run.

“As it stands today, we believe the best direction is to continue to invest in these projects,” Hardy said. “It still is the better choice than walking away today.”

The offshore wind industry is increasingly facing vocal opposition by some groups and politicians — some of which are connecting it to the deaths of whales despite not having any evidence to support the claim.

Kazmi said any opposition is a minority view.

“Over two-thirds of New Jerseyans agree that significantly increasing the amount of offshore wind energy produced should be a priority over the next 10 years,” she said.

“Ocean Wind 1 remains committed to helping the state meet its clean energy goals, creating good-paying local jobs, providing significant economic investments in our South Jersey community and supporting our shared clean energy future.”

The project also has the support of most environmental groups, which repeatedly have said offshore wind is a key to a green energy future.