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South Jersey Port Captures Major Offshore Wind Power Deal

Gov. Phil Murphy announced that Danish company Ørsted will lease the Lower Alloways Creek Township port for two years beginning in 2024 to build wind farm parts, which will create at least 200 jobs for the region.

(TNS) — The way Gov. Phil Murphy sees it, this is a huge, “Field of Dreams” development in New Jersey’s goal of becoming a major wind power hub.

Seven months ago, officials broke ground on a multimillion, state-financed wind port on the Delaware River in Salem County, designed to attract companies looking for a place to manufacture giant blades and other parts for wind power projects.

On Thursday, Murphy formally announced that Ørsted, the Danish company set to install the Garden State’s first offshore wind farm, formally signed an agreement to use the New Jersey Wind Port to build the components of the project in the next few years. The company will be the first tenant at the site.

“Today is a vision turning into reality,” Gov. Phil Murphy said as he announced the deal during an international wind energy conference in Atlantic City. “This is truly New Jersey’s ‘If you build it, they will come’ moment.”

Ørsted, which is partnering with Newark-based PSEG on the project, will lease the port in Lower Alloways Creek Township for two years beginning in April 2024 to build 900-foot turbines and other components for the wind farm, officials said. The deal is expected to create at least 200 jobs in South Jersey, officials said.

The wind farm itself, called Ocean Wind 1, will eventually be installed 15 miles off the coast of Ocean City in Cape May County. Officials say it’s expected to produce 1,100 megawatts of electricity — enough to power 500,000 homes in the state — while also creating about 15,000 jobs and generating $1.17 billion in economic benefits over the project’s lifespan.

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved the project in June 2019 as it granted Ørsted and PSEG the state’s first award for offshore wind — and the largest award for an offshore wind project in the U.S. to date.

But at that time, the plan was to use an existing out-of-state port to marshal the project, officials said. Officials said the developers have since decided instead to use New Jersey’s wind port, which the state broke ground on in September.

The agreement was expected but formalized Thursday.

“New Jersey is on the forefront of wind energy technology, and through our partnership, the Ocean Wind 1 project will deliver hundreds of jobs, clean energy, and transformative infrastructure to the region,” David Hardy, CEO of Ørsted Offshore North America, said in a statement Thursday.

The state is also planning a second, related facility in Paulsboro on the Delaware River to build huge poles supporting the wind turbines.

The turbines weigh thousands of tons and are nearly as tall as the Eiffel Tower. Officials say the structures are too heavy to be transported on land and thus need to be constructed in a place where there are no bridges or other obstacles before being transported out to sea.

Officials said the port is eventually expected to create up to 1,500 jobs and pour more than $500 million a year into New Jersey’s economy.

State regulators have approved two other wind farms so far, and more are expected.

New Jersey isn’t alone. New York City recently announced it’s also building a port for wind farm parts in Brooklyn in an effort to become a wind power hub.

Developing offshore wind is part of the Murphy administration’s effort to fight climate change by reducing New Jersey’s carbon emissions. The Democratic governor has called for the state to develop 3,500 megawatts of wind power by 2030.

Murphy’s larger — and lofty — goal is for the state to cutting emissions 50 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050.

A coalition of environmentalists called EmpowerNJ released a report earlier this month saying New Jersey is in danger of missing those goals if Murphy’s administration doesn’t stop fossil fuel projects it has approved and act more quickly to install regulations.

Meanwhile, Republicans have warned Murphy’s energy master plan will drive up costs on New Jersey’s residents and have complained he hasn’t put a clear price tag on it. The BPU held its first hearing to solicit public input on the possible cost last month, more than two years after Murphy unveiled the plan.


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