BOEM approves first N.J. offshore wind farm, Ocean Wind 1

Written by Nick Blenkey
Ocean Wind 1 will be New Jersey's first offshore wind farm

Image: Ørsted

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has issued its Record of Decision (ROD) approving the plan for construction and operations of Ørsted’s Ocean Wind 1. To be located about 13 nautical miles southeast of Atlantic City, the 1,100 MW project is the first New Jersey offshore wind farm to gain federal approval.

This marks the Biden administration’s third approval of a commercial-scale, offshore wind energy project in the United States, joining the Vineyard Wind project offshore Massachusetts and the South Fork Wind project offshore Rhode Island and New York, both now under construction and with steel in the water. It is also the first Record of Decision issued for a project whose review started under the Biden administration.

The Record of Decision (ROD) documents the decision to approve Ocean Wind LLC’s plan to construct up to 98 wind turbines and up to three offshore substations within its lease area.

According to Ørsted, with this milestone, Ocean Wind 1 remains on track to begin onshore construction activities in the fall of 2023, with offshore construction ramping up in 2024.

While incidents such as whale strandings have seen some local political figures call for a moratorium on offshore wind development, the ROD also documents the extensive range of monitoring and mitigation measures that Ocean Wind will undertake to reduce the potential for impacts to protected species, such as marine mammals, sea turtles, and Atlantic sturgeon. These measures include vessel speed restrictions and clearance zones during construction. Ocean Wind has also committed to three fisheries mitigation programs: a direct compensation program for reimbursement of lost revenues, a navigational safety fund for navigation equipment upgrades, and a reimbursement program for lost or damaged commercial fishing gear. BOEM worked with tribes, federal, state, and local government agencies and reviewed comments provided by industry, ocean users, and other key partners and stakeholders to develop these measures.

“Since Day One, the Biden-Harris administration has worked to jump-start the offshore wind industry across the country – and today’s approval for the Ocean Wind 1 project is another milestone in our efforts to create good-paying union jobs while combatting climate change and powering our nation,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “By working closely with state and local leaders, tribes, ocean users, and other stakeholders, we are moving forward with responsible clean energy development that will benefit communities, while also mitigating potential impacts on the environment or marine life.”

“Ocean Wind 1 represents another significant step forward for the offshore wind industry in the United States,” said BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein. “The project’s approval demonstrates the federal government’s commitment to developing clean energy and fighting climate change and is a testament to the state of New Jersey’s leadership in supporting sustainable sources of energy and economic development for coastal communities.”

“Ocean Wind 1 is on the cusp of making history as construction on New Jersey’s first offshore wind farm is set to begin in a few short months, delivering on the promise of good-paying jobs, local investment and clean energy,” said David Hardy, group EVP and CEO Americas at Ørsted. “We thank those at the federal level, Secretary Haaland, Director Klein and the team at BOEM, and of course, our partners at the State of New Jersey, Governor Murphy, Commissioner LaTourette, President Fiordaliso and staff at the Board of Public Utilities, Tim Sullivan and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, and members of the federal delegation and NJ Legislature, past and present, for their leadership and commitment to bringing offshore wind to the Garden State.”

“The announcement of Ocean Wind 1’s Record of Decision today represents a pivotal inflection point not just for Ørsted, but for New Jersey’s nation-leading offshore wind industry as a whole,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “By preparing to begin onshore construction this fall, Ocean Wind 1 will help bring New Jersey one crucial step closer to achieving a 100% clean energy economy by 2035 and 11,000 MW of offshore wind power by 2040. Just as importantly, as we continue to cultivate burgeoning new industries while confronting the worsening climate crisis, our state’s first offshore wind project will generate thousands of good-paying union jobs and considerable environmental benefits for generations to come.”

Ørsted says that Ocean Wind 1 will soon move from the development and permitting phase to the construction phase, with onshore activities beginning in the fall 2023, including the project’s onshore underground transmission line and onshore substations.

Offshore installation of the project’s monopile foundations and GE Haliade-X wind turbines is expected to begin in 2024. Monopiles for Ocean Wind 1 are being welded, sandblasted and painted at EEW American Offshore Structures’ facility at the Port of Paulsboro, N.J., the first monopile fabrication facility in the U.S. Ørsted has made significant investments in the facility as part of its commitment to building a local offshore wind supply chain. New Jersey-based PSEG will support Ocean Wind 1 with construction management, environmental permitting and compliance services for the onshore substations and transmission cable installation scope of work.

The project will generate enough electricity to provide 500,000 homes and is expected to begin commercial operations in 2025.

Categories: News, Offshore, Offshore Wind Tags: , , , , , , , , ,