America’s First Offshore Wind Port Breaks Ground
Construction has started on the New Jersey Wind Port, the first facility purpose-built for staging, assembly, and manufacturing activities related to offshore wind projects on the US East Coast.
Earthworks will begin on-site in the coming weeks and major construction is due to start in December 2021 with the goal of opening the port in winter 2023/2024.
The New Jersey Wind Port will be located on an artificial island on the eastern shores of the Delaware River, southwest of the City of Salem. The site was selected in June 2020 after a 22-month assessment process, including engagement with industry, government, and environmental stakeholders and the NJEDA has been preparing site and finalizing design since summer 2020.
The groundbreaking marks the next step in developing the New Jersey Wind Port as a hub for offshore wind. In June, New Jersey’s Governor Phil Murphy signed the Fiscal Year 2022 state budget, which included USD 200 million allocated for the development of the New Jersey Wind Port; this is in addition to USD 13 million from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and USD 44 million in partnership with New Jersey Department of Transportation for dredging. In July, the NJEDA announced AECOM-Tishman as the Construction Manager (CM) for the project.
In addition to the groundbreaking ceremony, the event also included the signing of a project labor agreement (PLA) for the project between AECOM-Tishman and the United Building Trades Council of Southern New Jersey AFL-CIO.
The New Jersey Wind Port has the potential to create up to 1,500 manufacturing, assembly, and operations jobs, as well as hundreds of union construction jobs in New Jersey. Manufacturing and marshalling projects supported by the Wind Port are expected to drive economic growth in Salem County, in South Jersey, and throughout the state.
Offshore wind is a central component of New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan to achieve 100 per cent clean energy by 2050. As part of that plan, New Jersey has committed to producing 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2035.
“Investing in offshore wind is vital to building a stronger, greener economy that creates high-paying jobs to support a robust recovery from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and paves the way for long-term, equitable growth,” said Governor Murphy.
“The New Jersey Wind Port will create thousands of high-quality jobs, bring millions of investment dollars to our state, and establish New Jersey as the national capital of offshore wind.”
Offshore wind projects slated for development along the US East Coast are expected to require more than USD 150 billion of capital investment by 2035, and the American offshore wind industry is projected to create more than 83,000 jobs, mostly along the Northeast corridor.
Long term, the New Jersey Wind Port has the potential for over 150 acres of manufacturing parcels and hundreds of manufacturing jobs. Several potential tenants have already expressed interest in the site, including Ørsted and Atlantic Shores through their winning bids in NJBPU’s recent offshore wind power solicitation.
“We are pleased to partner with New Jersey to help deliver its clean energy goals, both to fight climate change and to create good-paying union jobs for workers today,” said Madeline Urbish, Head of New Jersey Government Affairs and Policy for Ørsted.
“The New Jersey Wind Port is a powerful example of how offshore wind is helping to build a new U.S. manufacturing industry that will support clean energy development throughout the region and establish the Garden State as a leader.”
Both offshore wind developers indicated they intend to build their projects at the Wind Port. The winning bids also included proposals to partner with turbine manufactures GE and Vestas to build nacelle assembly facilities at the port. The NJEDA will be launching an additional tenant selection process in the coming weeks to negotiate agreements with these potential tenants.
“Offshore wind is the energy source of the future and Atlantic Shores is excited to work with Governor Murphy to grow the industry in New Jersey,” said Atlantic Shores Development Manager Doug Copeland.
“The New Jersey Wind Port is a much-needed infrastructure asset that will play a key role in achieving our upcoming 1,500 MW project and will pave the way for the long-term growth of offshore wind up and down the East Coast.”
The NJEDA is also working with AECOM-Tishman to ensure at least 25 per cent of subcontractors for the port construction are small businesses and at least 15 percent are women-, minority-, or veteran- owned. The project also includes worker diversity goals of 18 per cent people of color and 6.9 per cent women.
“With increasing frequency, New Jerseyans are feeling the horrendous impacts of climate change and extreme weather,” PSEG Chief Operating Officer Ralph LaRossa said.
“To protect our homes, businesses and the environment, ramping up clean energy generation, reducing carbon emissions and storm-hardening our infrastructure are imperative and there’s more that can be done. PSEG is proud to be a partner in Ocean Wind 1, and we’re especially honored to be a part of the development of the New Jersey Wind Port, providing a foundation for the formation and expansion of offshore wind in the mid-Atlantic region. With today’s groundbreaking, New Jersey is taking a giant step toward bringing new industry to the region, creating jobs and supporting the economy.”