Feds give key approval to Atlantic Shores offshore wind project

Offshore wind farm, set between Atlantic City and Long Beach Island, is expected to generate 2,800 megawatts — enough to power 1 million homes

The U.S. Department of the Interior approved the proposed Atlantic Shores South offshore wind farm in New Jersey on Tuesday, giving a major boost to a project that would be the state’s first.

To be clear, the project still requires additional federal approvals of its construction and operations plans, but those are expected.

The approval obviously was of particular importance in New Jersey and to Gov. Phil Murphy, who has pushed offshore wind as a key part of his clean energy policies and goals. It also may show that the cancellation of a similar project by Ørsted last fall was a matter of economics rather than energy policy.

The Atlantic Shores South wind project consists of two wind energy facilities — Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind Project 1 and 2 — and associated export cables, which are expected to generate up to 2,800 megawatts of electricity, enough to power close to 1 million homes with clean renewable energy.

The project is approximately 8.7 miles off the Jersey Shore at its closest point. To provide energy to New Jersey, Atlantic Shores South proposed up to 200 total wind turbine generators and up to 10 offshore substations with subsea transmission cables potentially making landfall in Atlantic City and Sea Girt. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has approved construction of up to 195 wind turbine generators.

In making the announcement, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said the approval of the offshore wind project — the ninth given by President Joe Biden’s administration — means that the government has approved projects expected to generate more than 13 gigawatts of clean energy, or enough to power nearly 5 million homes.

“The Biden-(Kamala) Harris administration is building momentum every day for our clean energy future, and today’s milestone is yet another step toward our ambitious goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore energy by 2030,” Haaland said. “Our clean energy future is now a reality — thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we are addressing climate change, fostering job growth and promoting equitable economic opportunities for all communities.”