June 23, 2024

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The Biden White House approves the 1 Ocean Wind offshore wind project in New Jersey

The Biden administration on Wednesday gave the green light to the largest offshore wind project ever approved by the United States to date, paving the way for dozens of turbines that could power hundreds of thousands of New Jersey homes.

The approval of Ocean Wind 1’s construction and operations plan is a milestone for the project, which has faced fierce opposition from Republican lawmakers and residents of New Jersey. The project will be owned by the state The first utility-scale offshore wind farm and could power up to half a million homes with clean energy, according To Orsted, the Danish energy company developing the project.

“Today’s announcement of Ocean Wind’s Decision Record 1 marks a pivotal inflection point not only for Orsted, but for New Jersey’s leading offshore wind industry as a whole,” said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, an offshore wind supporter. , in a statement.

Two other large offshore wind projects approved by the Department of the Interior’s Office of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) are already under construction.

The Vineyard Wind 1 project off Massachusetts and the South Fork Wind project off Rhode Island and New York are expected to generate about 800 megawatts and 130 megawatts of power, respectively.

Ocean Wind 1 is the largest project of the three. Oersted projects that Ocean Wind 1 will provide 1,100 megawatts of power from up to 98 General Electric Haliade-X wind turbines located approximately 15 miles off the coast of southern New Jersey. Oersted says the project could provide power for nearly 500,000 homes, though BOEM has a slightly lower forecast of about 380,000.

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“the [approval] “It represents a critical step toward harnessing clean, renewable offshore wind to power New Jersey homes and businesses,” Alison MacLeod, senior director of policy at the University of New Jersey told Voter Conservation.

The Interior Department called the approval a step forward for the offshore wind industry and constitutes “significant progress” toward the Biden administration’s goal of developing 30 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2030 in a statement.

“The Biden-Harris administration has worked to jump-start the offshore wind industry across the country — and today’s approval of Ocean Wind 1 is another milestone in our effort to create well-paying union jobs while fighting climate change and supporting our nation,” Home Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement. Release.

But to reach climate management goals, proposed wind projects up and down the East Coast will need to overcome severe hurdles, including opposition from Republicans and local residents. Resistance is particularly fierce in Cape May County, where a number of coastal communities will be able to spot wind turbines from shore.

Residents have joined groups such as Protect Our Coast NJ to rally against the project on concerns ranging from whale deaths to the impact of turbines on local tourism. These activist groups have taken legal action against the wind project.

The county has also recruited lawyers in its efforts to halt offshore wind development. In June, County voted to add Two additional law firms to its legal team to challenge federal regulatory decisions and permits issued to Orsted by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection.

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Former New Jersey Superior Court Justice Michael J. Donohue, who serves as special counsel for the county, said Cape May County is reviewing the board’s decision and will “determine available avenues for legal challenges, if any, to pursue.”

In addition to the legal challenges, Ocean Wind has 1 suffer from high interest rates and inflation. The New Jersey legislature narrowly passed a bill last week to allow Ørsted to keep federal tax credits in an effort to address what lawmakers have described as long-term economic damage from inflation and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite these setbacks, Ørsted said in a statement that with BOEM’s approval, the project remains on track to begin onshore construction this fall and ramp up offshore construction in 2024. The project is expected to begin commercial operations in 2025, according to the company.