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New Offshore Wind Projects Approved

Posted on March 11, 2024

Putting Ørsted’s failed wind turbine projects largely in the rearview mirror, the Murphy Administration has approved two new offshore wind projects totaling 3.7 GW, enough to offset several million tons of CO2 annually.

The projects are Leading Light Wind, by developers Invenergy and EnergyRe; and Attentive Energy Two, by TotalEnergies, Rise Light & Power, and Corio Generation. They would be built 40 miles off the coast of Atlantic City and 42 miles east of Seaside Heights, respectively.

Such distances would put them out of sight from the shoreline and have already earned them a measure of approval from Save Long Beach Island, one of the staunchest critics of the state’s offshore wind program. Such political support is a positive for this fledgling industry.

“The Sierra Club is excited at the prospect of more turbines on New Jersey’s horizon and looks forward to a safer climate future because of it,” said NJ Chapter Director Anjuli Ramos-Busot.

Following Ørsted’s cancellation of its two Ocean Wind projects, in November, New Jersey was left with one other offshore wind project in development, the 1.5 GW Atlantic Shores, which would extend seaward from a point 9 miles off the Sea Girt coastline.

The just-announced bid awards were selected from among four developer inquiries New Jersey received late last year. Importantly, one of the agreements calls for an investment of $164 million at the Paulsboro turbine monopile (turbine foundation) manufacturing center.

This picks up some of the slack caused by Ørsted’s departure. New Jersey is facing stranded investment based on Ørsted’s pullout, although state officials suggested recently that the newly awarded bids have significantly improved the outlook. The state is hoping to install 11 GW of offshore wind power by 2050.

As far as opposition to turbines in New Jersey goes, there are still oil interests and fishing groups to consider, not to mention not-in-my-backyard groups that remain opposed to the Atlantic Shores development. The turbines will be visible from the shore and have been described by opponents as “a stick in the mud.”

Leading Light Wind will be built out all at once, rather than in stages, to take advantage of economies of scale, and its footprint will fully encompass 76,000 acres of leased ocean area. That will mean a lot of careful maneuvering for fishing boats that want to harvest in those waters.

The backers behind the Atlantic Shores development, Shell New Energies, and EDF Renewables North America, have 400 square miles of leased area at their disposal, not all of which would be developed at once.

The economics of wind farm development have grown daunting over the past three years, with rising materials and borrowing costs, not to mention heavy opposition from oil-entrenched interests.

A recent Standard and Poor’s report stated that the total cost of an offshore wind project has increased by more than 30% over the past two years. In fact, New York State, where Ørsted is still active, has taken to allowing rebidding of contracts to account for these ballooning costs and to retain developer interest.

Ørsted and Eversource are rebidding their development contract for the Sunrise Wind turbine farm slated for a point east of Long Island’s Montauk Harbor.

Ørsted and Eversource are also working to activate their 130 MW South Fork Wind Farm just north of the Sunrise Wind location. This would begin delivering power in the first half of 2024 and would be the first to do so for New York state.

In New Jersey, Atlantic Shores is looking to be the first to deliver wind energy. Their 1.5 GW farm will commence installation in 2024 and go live in 2027, according to the plan.


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