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Atlantic Shores is the Next U.S. Offshore Wind Project to Get Approval

offshore wind
U.S. approves another offshore wind farm marking nine in three years (file photo)

Published Jul 2, 2024 4:35 PM by The Maritime Executive

 

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced that it has approved New Jersey’s Atlantic Shores South, making it the latest in a series of steps over the past few days moving the sector forward. The project received its Record of Decision, a key step in the approval process, and also important for New Jersey as it moves closer to its first large offshore wind farm.

“The Biden-Harris administration is building momentum every day for our clean energy future, and today’s milestone is yet another step toward our ambitious goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore energy by 2030,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. Yesterday, the department announced the approval of the construction and operation plan for New England Offshore Wind, and last week it scheduled its next auction for two sites off the Central Atlantic coast.

With this approval, Haaland highlights they have taken the U.S. offshore wind energy sector from zero to over 13 GW in just three years. Atlantic Shores is billed as the ninth large offshore wind farm approved by the department. The first large offshore wind farm was commissioned this year with a second one in process and construction having begun on other projects.

The original lease for what is now Atlantic Shores South Project 1 and 2 was awarded in November 2015 with the lease executed in March 2016. The project is being developed by a joint partnership between Shell New Energies US and a division of EDF Renewables North America. 

“Atlantic Shores is thrilled to receive Record of Decision from the Biden administration. This milestone brings us one step closer to delivering New Jersey’s first offshore wind projects and for the state achieving its ambitious goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2035,” said Joris Veldhoven, Chief Executive Officer, Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind.

The plan consists of two offshore wind farms that will be located at least 8.7 miles from the closest point on the New Jersey coast, although the companies have said the project will be at least 12.8 miles from shore in a region between Atlantic City and Long Beach Island. In total, they proposed up to 200 wind turbines and up to 10 offshore substations that will come ashore between Atlantic City and Sea Girt. The approval was decreased slightly to a maximum of 195 wind turbines.

The first phase of Atlantic Shores will generate 1,510 MW as part of a total project expected to provide 2.8 GW and power more than one million homes. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management released the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the project on May 23 and Atlantic Shores South has submitted an updated Construction and Operations Plan (COP) which still requires approval. The project also requires additional state approvals before construction can begin.

In anticipation of these steps, Atlantic Shores last week announced it has selected Riggs Distler for the expansion of the substation to provide the necessary upgrades, identified by the regional transmission operator, to create the point of interconnection from Atlantic Shores Project 1 onto the local electric grid. The contract scope includes the engineering, procurement, construction, and installation of all new electrical equipment for an expansion of the 230 kV Cardiff Substation expansion located in Egg Harbor Township.  

Atlantic Shores has also committed to lease 35 acres at the New Jersey Wind Port in Salem County. Atlantic Shores will initially use the New Jersey Wind Port for marshaling the materials for the project.

The approval is critical to New Jersey which set a goal of clean power and reaching 11 GW by 2040 from offshore wind energy. The state’s first large projects were withdrawn last October by Ørsted as part of the realignment of its portfolio. New Jersey looks to further move the industry forward with a new solicitation for offshore projects.