BOEM Completes Environmental Review for New Jersey Offshore Wind Farm
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) reported that it has completed its environmental analysis of the proposed Ocean Wind 1 wind project offshore New Jersey. The bureau plans to issue its decision this summer to approve the project, which would be New Jersey’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm.
Eleven months ago, BOEM published its draft of the Environmental Impact Statement for the project. It was followed by a public comment period as well as three virtual meetings to solicit additional feedback on the draft. BOEM reports it received a total of 1,389 comment submissions from government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the public during the comment period and considered these comments and stakeholders’ feedback when developing the final EIS.
The final EIS is available on BOEM’s website and as required by law a notice will be published on May 26. The report analyzes the potential environmental impacts of the activities laid out in Ocean Wind’s Construction and Operations Plan.
“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.
Ocean Wind proposes to construct up to 98 wind turbines and up to three offshore substations within its lease area with an estimated capacity range will be from 1,215 to 1,440 megawatts, capable of powering up to 504,000 homes per year. At its closest point, the Ocean Wind 1 project will be at least 13 nautical miles southeast of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Export cables are anticipated to make landfall in Ocean County and Cape May County, New Jersey.
The project was proposed as a partnership between Ørsted and New Jersey power utility Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG). However, in January 2023, they said that based on changes in the government financial support programs for offshore wind, they had determined that it would be best if Ørsted acquired PSEG’s 25 percent interest in Ocean Wind. PSEG said it had decided to step aside and allow for a better positioned tax investor to join the project so that it can proceed with an optimized tax structure.
Plans call for the installation of GE Haliade X 12 MW turbines. Ørsted had previously estimated that construction would take approximately two years with first operations beginning before the end of 2024 and full operations in 2025. At the end of April, the project cleared another key step with decisions from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the issuance of the first construction permits. Ørsted noted that additional federal, state, and local approvals, in addition to approval from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, were required before construction on Ocean Wind 1 can begin.
Ocean Wind 2 has also been proposed which would be located 15 miles off the coast of southern New Jersey, adjacent to Ocean Wind 1. The second phase project would generate an additional 1,148 megawatts of offshore wind energy, which would be enough to power more than 500,000 homes.