Posted on May 17, 2023
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced the availability of the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for two wind energy projects offshore New Jersey. If approved, the two projects could generate about 2,800 megawatts (MW) of electricity, enough to power almost 1 million homes.
Availability of the draft EIS sets the stage for a public engagement process that could be more contentious than usual.
With reports of whale deaths much in the media earlier this year, Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R.-N.J.), who is Vice Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has been pushing for a moratorium on offshore wind development, as have Republican New Jersey state senators.
With the New Jersey offshore wind advocates maybe doing less than they might to explain the science (which would seem to indicate that vessel strikes are the major cause of whale deaths) a recent poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University indicates that a slight majority of New Jersey residents now want to halt offshore wind development.
Meantime, the BOEM process continues. Atlantic Shores, a joint venture between EDF Renewables and Shell, submitted a combined Construction and Operations plan (COP) for two wind energy facilities and associated export cables on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore New Jersey: the Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind Project 1 and Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind Project 2. The two projects are collectively referred to as the Atlantic Shores South Wind Project. The combined proposal includes up to 200 total wind turbines and up to ten offshore substations with subsea transmission cables making landfall at up to two New Jersey locations: in Atlantic City, Sea Girt, or both. The lease area covers approximately 102,124 acres and is approximately 8.7 statute miles offshore New Jersey at its closest point.
“As BOEM moves forward with our environmental reviews, we are committed to working with tribal nations, government agency partners, lessees, environmental organizations, local communities, ocean users and others,” said BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein. “By working together, we can build a strong, enduring offshore wind industry that ensures American communities across the nation benefit from good paying jobs and clean, reliable, domestic renewable energy.”
The Atlantic Shores South Wind Project draft EIS can be found on BOEM’s website, The notice of availability will publish in the Federal Register on May 19, 2023, which will open a 45-day public comment period that ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on Jul. 3, 2023. The input received during the comment period will inform preparation of the final EIS.
Project 1 has an Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Certificate award from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities for 1,510 MW of offshore wind power, enough to power 528,000 homes. Atlantic Shores is seeking a second power offtake agreement for Project 2, which has a goal of generating 1,327 MW, enough to power about 464,450 homes.
BOEM will use the findings of the final EIS to inform its decision on whether to approve the Atlantic Shores South Wind Project COP, and if so, what mitigation measures to require.
During the comment period, BOEM will hold two in-person public meetings and two virtual meetings, where the public can learn more about the review process, the EIS schedule, potential impacts from the proposed project, and proposals to reduce potential impacts. Participants also will have an opportunity to provide comments on the draft EIS. The public meetings will be held on the following dates and times.
In-Person public meetings: All times are Eastern. Registration for the in-person meetings is encouraged.
- Wed., Jun. 21, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. Holiday Inn Manahawkin/Long Beach Island, 151 Route 72 West, Manahawkin, NJ 08050
- Thu., Jun. 22, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. Atlantic City Convention Center, 1 Convention Blvd, Atlantic City, NJ 08401 Virtual public meetings: All times are Eastern. Registration for the virtual public meetings is required.
Virtual public meetings: All times are Eastern. Registration for the virtual public meetings is required.
- Mon., Jun. 26, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. Wed., Jun. 28, 2023, at 5:00 p.m.
A virtual meeting room will be published on BOEM’s website on May 19, 2023, and will include information about how to register for the in-person and virtual meetings. It will be available throughout the 45-day comment period and will include information about the draft EIS and how to provide comment.
We can be certain that opponents of New Jersey offshore wind will make their voices heard at these events. The industry will have the tricky job of allaying their fears — which could be hard seeing that science is often a harder sell than easy assumptions.