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

The Biden administration approved a plan for the construction and operations of Ocean Wind 1 on Wednesday, marking the administration’s third official endorsement of a major offshore wind project and one of the largest of its kind.

The decision is a milestone for Ocean Wind 1, which faced fierce opposition from Republican lawmakers and New Jersey residents. The project will be owned by the state The first utility-scale offshore wind farm and clean energy could power half a million homes, According to Danish energy company Orsted is developing the project.

“Today’s announcement of Ocean Wind 1’s Record of Decision represents a major change not only for Oerstedt, but for New Jersey’s nation’s leading offshore wind industry,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. , in a publication.

Construction is already underway on two other large offshore wind projects approved by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

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 MW and 130 MW, respectively.

Ocean Wind 1 is the largest project of the three. Orstead projects that Ocean Wind 1 will generate 1,100 megawatts of power from 98 General Electric Haliad-X wind turbines placed about 15 miles off the coast of southern New Jersey.

“The [approval] “Represents an important step forward in bringing clean, renewable sea air to New Jersey’s homes and businesses,” said Alison McLeod, Senior Policy Director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters.

The Interior Department described the approval as a step forward for the offshore wind industry and in a release described it as “significant progress” toward the Biden administration’s goal of developing 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030.

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“The Biden-Harris administration has worked to jump-start the offshore wind industry across the country — and today’s approval of the Ocean Wind 1 project is another milestone in our efforts to fight climate change and create good-paying union jobs while powering our nation,” said Interior Secretary Deb Holland. publication.

But to achieve the administration’s climate goals, proposed wind projects up and down the East Coast must overcome steep obstacles, including opposition from Republicans and local residents. Opposition is particularly strong in Cape May County, where many coastal communities can locate offshore wind farms.

Residents have joined groups like Our Coastal NJ to rally against the project based on concerns ranging from whale deaths to the impact the turbines could have on local tourism. These activist groups have taken legal action against the wind project.

It has also enlisted district attorneys in efforts to block offshore wind development. In June, Distt Voted to add Two law firms add to its legal team to challenge federal regulatory decisions and permits issued to Orsted by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

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

In addition to the legal challenges, there is Ocean Wind 1 suffered From rising interest rates and inflation. The New Jersey Legislature last week briefly approved a bill that would allow Orstead to keep federal tax credits in an effort to address what lawmakers described as lingering economic impacts from inflation and the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Despite these setbacks, with BOEM approval, the project is on track to begin offshore construction this fall and ramp up offshore construction in 2024, Orsted said in a release. The project is expected to start commercial operations in 2025.

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