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More Wind Turbines on NJ Horizon? Two Companies Compete for Ocean Bid

Posted on December 14, 2020

Above: Wind turbines helped a farmer to retire.

Two companies announced they submitted bids to develop wind turbines off the Jersey Shore in the latest step in New Jersey’s goal to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Offshore wind generation companies Ørsted and Atlantic Shores announced Thursday that they submitted bids to the state Board of Public Utilities  in its second solicitation for offshore wind turbines. The state is seeking a company to build an offshore network of turbines with a generation capacity between 1,200 to 2,400 megawatts. The deadline to submit was 5 p.m. Thursday.

The BPU’s solicitation is the latest part of an effort by Gov. Phil Murphy to transition half the state’s energy production to  “clean” energy sources — sources that do not rely on fossil fuels — by 2030.

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Three offshore wind turbines in the distance.

Last year, 94% of New Jersey’s electricity was generated by nuclear energy and natural gas, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In contrast, renewable energy sources made up only 5% of the state’s energy supply.

Officials at Ørsted, a Denmark-based energy company that won the BPU’s initial solicitation to build New Jersey’s first 1,100-megawatt offshore wind farm off Atlantic City, announced they had applied for the BPU’s second solicitation for turbines.

“Ørsted is the world leader in offshore wind and is already partnering with the state of New Jersey to meet its renewable energy goals,” said Ørsted Offshore North America CEO David Hardy in a news release.

As part of its second bid to expand its offshore turbine footprint, Ørsted officials have promised to invest in New Jersey’s wind manufacturing sector, help attract offshore wind suppliers to the soon-to-be-developed New Jersey Wind Port in Salem County, and direct grants and job training programs to the state’s low-income and neediest communities. The company also has said it would engage with local unions on offshore wind job-training programs.

Other details of its second bid — including specific turbine locations, number of turbines planned or specific power generation proposals — were not released by the company.

Atlantic Shores, a collaboration between EDF Renewables North America and gas giant Shell’s New Energies division, also applied in the BPU’s second offshore wind solicitation.

An area of roughly 344,000 acres offshore of New Jersey that will be leased for offshore wind energy development.

Atlantic Shores officials proposed a 2,300-megawatt turbine project they estimate would “yield a 16% reduction in New Jersey’s carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation by powering the equivalent of nearly 1 million homes.”

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“Offshore wind can propel a dynamic and fast-growing new economy on the East Coast, and we are committed to helping build it first in New Jersey,” Atlantic Shores development director Jennifer Daniels said in a news release. “We are confident that if the project is selected, Atlantic Shores will help New Jersey to deliver on its vision of a clean energy future.”

A prototype of GE's Haliade X wind turbine, shown here, will be used on a wind farm that to be built 15 miles offshore of Atlantic City.

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Ocean leases for energy development are controlled by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which restricts areas of wind turbine development so as not to interfere with important shipping routes. New Jersey has 344,000 acres of ocean allotted for wind farms.

“Developing New Jersey’s offshore wind industry will bring thousands of good-paying jobs and millions of dollars in economic development to our state to aid our economic recovery from COVID-19,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement in September, when the second solicitation was announced. “This … not only reinforces our commitment to fighting climate change and achieving 100% clean energy by 2050, but it secures New Jersey’s foothold as a national leader in the growing U.S. offshore wind industry.”

The BPU is expected to announce the bid winner sometime in late spring or early summer.

Four more offshore wind project solicitations are expected to be announced by the state between 2022 and 2028.

Amanda Oglesby is an Ocean County native who covers Brick, Barnegat and Lacey townships as well as the environment. She has worked for the Press for more than a decade. Reach her at @OglesbyAPP, or 732-557-5701.


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