💨 Another round of solicitations coming this year

💨 Other projects fell through last year in a major blow to Gov. Murphy

💨 Strong reactions to approval


TRENTON — Despite a major setback last year, New Jersey is pushing ahead with Gov. Phil Murphy's green energy agenda with two newly approved offshore wind projects.

The Leading Light Wind and Attentive Energy Two projects were approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities at a meeting Wednesday morning. It comes after the board opened a third round of solicitations for wind projects last March.

The wind farms will be located in federal waters off the coast of Ocean County.

It's expected that the turbines will be up and spinning just after the start of the next decade. They'll generate a combined 3,742 megawatts of electricity to power 1.8 million homes when fully operational.

Land-based wind turbines spin in Atlantic City N.J. on July 20, 2023. Wind developer Orsted scrapped the project on Oct. 31, 2023, citing supply chain problems and high interest rates. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
Land-based wind turbines spin in Atlantic City N.J. on July 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
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Murphy's goal is to reach 11,000 megawatts of electricity generated by offshore wind farms by 2040.

"In spite of some setbacks, we're on track. If anything, this solicitation award shows that we're moving full steam ahead," said BPU President Christine Guhl-Sadovy.

A fourth round of solicitations for more offshore wind projects is expected sometime in the first half of 2024, Guhl-Sadovy said.

Two new offshore wind projects

The first project, proposed by Chicago-based Invenergy, is Leading Light Wind.

(BOEM/Canva)
(BOEM/Canva)
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Generating 2,400 megawatts, its turbines will be built around 40 miles off the coast of Long Beach Island.

The turbines are expected to begin operating in two phases, each at 1,200 MW. The first phase will be done in 2031 and the second will be running the following year.

The second project is Attentive Energy Two, submitted by Attentive Energy, LLC.

Biden Offshore Wind
AP
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It promises 1,342 megawatts of electricity, a little more than half of Leading Light Wind's output, and power 600,000 homes.

Turbines for Attentive Energy Two will be located 42 miles from the shore off the coast of Seaside Heights. It's also expected to be operational by 2031.

Damian Bednarz, managing director of Attentive Energy, said to the Associated Press that its turbines would not be visible from the shoreline because of the curvature of the Earth.

 

Seafloor surveying for the projects will be done by Fugro, the same vessels that did sonar work for developers Atlantic Shores and Ørsted.

MORE: Another enormous wind failure for Murphy in NJ

Ørsted pulled out of its wind project off the Jersey coastline last year. Another wind project fell through earlier this month.

Strong reactions to new NJ wind farms

While state officials and some environmentalists championed the approval as a major step forward for Gov. Murphy's offshore wind goals, others strongly disapproved.

Clean Ocean Action, one of several groups that blames offshore wind projects for a series of whale deaths, said the projects put the ocean at risk.

Humpback whale necropsy on Aug. 13, 2023. (Michael McKenna via MMSC)
Humpback whale necropsy on Aug. 13, 2023. (Michael McKenna via MMSC)
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"The current push for OSW is an unprecedented invasion and massive experiment on the ocean, marine ecosystem, thousands of livelihoods, and the quiet seaside culture that millions enjoy from around the world," said COA in a statement.

However, other groups including the NJ League of Conservation Voters, NJ Sierra Club, the Association of NJ Environmental Commissions, Green Faith, and Pinelands Preservation Alliance called it a major step forward against climate change.

"The projects announced today don’t just demonstrate continued strong interest from the private sector in wind off the Jersey coast, they also represent a down payment in the fight against climate change and cleaning up our air, improving public health, and creating thousands of local union jobs that will strengthen New Jersey’s economy," said Ed Potosnak, executive director of the NJ League of Conservation Voters.

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