offshore wind farm under construction

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BOEM Completes Environmental Analysis of Offshore Wind Project Off New Jersey

Mike Schuler
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May 23, 2023

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has wrapped up its environmental analysis of the proposed Ocean Wind 1 wind project off the coast of New Jersey.

If approved, the project could provide clean, renewable energy to around 500,000 homes.

“BOEM continues to make progress towards a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a new clean energy industry in the United States,” said BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein. “Offshore wind is a critical component of the Biden-Harris administration’s strategy to tackle the climate crisis, while creating good-paying jobs and ensuring economic opportunities are accessible to all communities.”

Ocean Wind LLC, the company behind the proposed project, plans to construct up to 98 wind turbine generators (WTGs) and up to three offshore substations within its lease area. The Ocean Wind 1 project will be located at least 13 nautical miles southeast of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Export cables are expected to make landfall in Ocean County and Cape May County, New Jersey.

If all 98 WTGs are approved, the estimated capacity will range from 1,215 to 1,440 megawatts, capable of powering approximately 504,000 homes annually. If authorized, Ocean Wind 1 will become the third commercial-scale offshore wind project approved by the Biden administration on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.

“We’re excited about the continued progress New Jersey is making toward its offshore wind goals, which will create 10,000 jobs and $4.7 billion in economic impact across the state,” the American Clean Power association said in a statement. “Ocean Wind 1 plays a key part in meeting these goals, with the ability to power nearly half a million homes per year on clean, reliable, and homegrown wind energy.”

A “Notice of Availability” for the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Ocean Wind LLC’s Proposed Wind Energy Facility Offshore New Jersey will be published in the Federal Register in the coming days.

BOEM began the environmental review process by releasing a draft EIS on June 24, 2022, initiating a 45-day public comment period that was later extended until August 23, 2022. In addition, three virtual public hearings were held to gather feedback from various stakeholders, including Tribal nations, local community members, commercial fishing interests, and other ocean users. BOEM received a total of 1,389 comment submissions from Federal, Tribal, state, and local government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the general public during the comment period. Numerous comments raised general concerns regarding adverse effects on whales in the area.

Considering these comments and stakeholder feedback, BOEM developed the final EIS to ensure that the project moves forward while addressing the needs and concerns of all.

BOEM plans to issue a Record of Decision (ROD) this summer, which will determine whether to approve the proposed Ocean Wind 1 project. The ROD marks the conclusion of the National Environmental Policy Act EIS process.

The completion of BOEM’s environmental review of the Ocean Wind 1 project follows the recent announcement of the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for two separate New Jersey offshore wind projects: Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind Project 1 and Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind Project 2. These projects, collectively known as the Atlantic Shores South Wind Project, were jointly submitted by Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, a 50/50 joint venture between Shell and EDF Renewables

The latest action comes amid growing calls from Republican lawmakers to temporarily halt offshore wind production following a series of whale deaths in recent months, with some attributing the deaths to preliminary offshore wind activities, namely acoustic survey work, despite having no evidence connecting the two.

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