The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has approved the construction and operation plan for the Ocean Wind 1 project off the coast of New Jersey. The project is expected to generate 1,100 MW of clean energy, power over 380,000 homes, and create over 3,000 jobs during development and construction.
With the approval, Ocean Wind 1 becomes the third commercial-scale offshore wind energy project to be approved in U.S. federal waters under the Biden Administration, joining the Vineyard Wind project off Massachusetts and the South Fork Wind project offshore Rhode Island and New York. The latter two are currently under construction.
“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 Deb Haaland.
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. The company, part of Danish power company Ørsted, says with the approval, the project remains on track to begin onshore construction activities in the fall of 2023, with offshore construction ramping up in 2024.
“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.
Ocean Wind will undertake monitoring and mitigation measures to reduce potential impacts to protected species during construction, including vessel speed restrictions and fisheries mitigation programs. BOEM worked with Tribes, government agencies, and stakeholders to develop these measures.
BOEM published a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on June 24, 2022, and held three virtual public meetings to gather feedback from various stakeholders during a 45-day public comment period that was later extended until Aug. 23, 2022. BOEM received over 1,300 comments from Federal, Tribal, state, and local government agencies; non-governmental organizations; and the general public during the comment period.
BOEM also conducted Tribal consultation meetings with Delaware Nation, Delaware Tribe of Indians, and Shinnecock Indian Nation, as well as meetings with 37 consulting parties to identify measures to avoid and mitigate potential impacts to historic and cultural resources and properties.BOEM used information from meetings to develop a final EIS, which helped balance the needs and interests of those affected by the project and move it forward.
“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.”
The approval comes as Republican lawmakers have called to temporarily halt offshore wind production following a series of whale deaths, with some attributing the deaths to preliminary offshore wind activities, namely acoustic survey work, despite having no evidence connecting the two.
BOEM plans to review at least 16 Construction and Operations Plans for offshore wind energy facilities by 2025, which would provide more than 27 GW of clean energy for the US.
“Construction is already underway on two wind projects off the coasts of Massachusetts and New York. Today’s announcement gives the greenlight for construction of another. This project, off the coast of New Jersey, will supply enough energy on its own to power nearly half a million homes. This massive expansion in clean energy construction didn’t just happen. It’s not an accident. It’s Bidenomics in action. Big, bold, and building things,” said White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi.
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