New Jersey Plans First Purpose-Built Offshore Wind Port in the U.S.
On Tuesday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced a plan for a new seaport specifically for offshore wind in Salem County, South Jersey. The facility - part of the state's bid to capture market share in the nascent U.S. offshore wind industry - would be the first of its kind in America and would provide a site for turbine staging, assembly, and manufacturing.
According to the governor's office, the New Jersey Wind Port could create up to 1,500 manufacturing and operations jobs, along with hundreds of construction jobs in New Jersey. It is expected to support up to $500 million of new economic activity within the state and the region each year.
Construction on the first 55-acre phase is expected to begin in 2021. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) is leading the development and is examining public and private financing options for the $300-400 million total cost.
"The New Jersey Wind Port will tap into one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, creating high-quality jobs for New Jersey residents and bringing millions of dollars into our communities,” said NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan. “This will be especially important as we work to get people back to work and jumpstart economic growth in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis.”
According to the state, current plans for offshore wind development on the U.S. East Coast call for turbines to be partially assembled in port and then shipped out to the installation site vertically. Some of the installed components can be up to 500 feet in height. This means that any air draft restrictions generally take a seaport out of consideration. In addition, the projects' dock strength requirements for cargo handling are beyond the capacity of most East Coast piers, the state said.
New Jersey aims to achieve an ambitious 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2035 - about twice the state's current nuclear power-generating capacity. Projects in nearby states could raise that number considerably: all in all, the state predicts about $100 billion in offshore wind investment up and down the East Coast by 2030.
“By providing a location that can accommodate the industry’s manufacturing and marshalling needs, the New Jersey Wind Port will make New Jersey an international leader in offshore wind and a hub of the East Coast wind industry,” said Liz Burdock, President and CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind. "This is a concrete step toward an offshore wind supply chain born in the USA.”
The future port site is adjacent to the Hope Creek Nuclear Generation Station, located on the Delaware River. The station's operator, PSEG, is supporting the project's development.