US Interior Department Greenlights Major Offshore Wind Project in New Jersey

Project involves construction of 195 wind turbines that will be supported by 10 offshore substations.
US Interior Department Greenlights Major Offshore Wind Project in New Jersey
Wind turbines located at the Block Island Wind Farm near Block Island, R.I., on July 7, 2022. (John Moore/Getty Images)
Matt McGregor
The Department of Interior announced its approval of a large-scale offshore wind turbine project in New Jersey on Tuesday.
The Interior Department stated that the Atlantic Shores South project will be located approximately 8 miles from the New Jersey shore and involve the construction of 195 wind turbines that will be supported by 10 offshore substations with subsea transmission cables “potentially making landfall in Atlantic City and Sea Girt, New Jersey.”
The project will consist of two wind farms that will have the capacity to generate 2,800 megawatts of electricity that can power up to one million homes, the DoI said.
The department said it’s the ninth offshore wind energy project at a commercial scale to get federal approval.
These nine projects will generate up to 13 gigawatts of offshore wind-generated energy, enough to power up to 5 million homes.
“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 Department Secretary Deb Haaland. “Our clean energy future is now a reality—thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda we are addressing climate change, fostering job growth, and promoting equitable economic opportunities for all communities.” 
Atlantic Offshore Wind is a partnership between Shell New Energies and EDF Renewables North America.

‘One Step Closer’

In a press release issued on the federal approval, Joris Veldhoven, the chief executive officer for Atlantic Offshore Wind, said the decision “brings us one step closer to delivering New Jersey’s first offshore wind projects and for the state achieving its ambitious goal of 100% clean energy by 2035.”
“We recognize the significance of this milestone and we’re excited to work with our supply chain partners to continue making near-term investments and creating great paying union jobs,” he said.

According to the company, one of the wind farm projects will give the local economy a $848 million boon through “job creation and workforce development.”

In total, the entire project will bring $1.9 billion to the state, Atlantic Shores Wind said.

‘Negligible to Moderate Adverse Impacts’

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in May published its joint record of decision on the Atlantic Shores Wind’s environmental impact statement (EIS) in which it concluded that the project will have “negligible to moderate adverse impacts on most resources.”
“The numerous consultations performed under various federal statutes and the analysis in the final EIS indicate that approval of the Preferred Alternative would not result in undue harm to environmental resources or in unreasonable interference with other OCS [outer continental shelf] uses,” BOEM’s report stated. 

Elizabeth Klein, BOEM’s energy management director, called the project “an intentional collaborative process.”

“At BOEM, our dedication to engaging with Tribal Nations, states, other government agencies, industry, environmental organizations, and ocean users remains paramount, ensuring responsibility development while addressing community concerns and safeguarding our marine ecosystems,” she said.

Wind Energy Opposition

Some of those community concerns have been expressed by organizations such as Protect Our Coast NJ, which has opposed the construction of offshore wind farms, stating that they will ruin the tourism industry that centers around the scenic beachside views.
These organizations have claimed that the infrasound tools used in surveying for the wind turbines are disrupting the navigation of whales and dolphins, which increases fatal vessel strikes.
Officials have denied the correlation in previous reports.
In an emailed statement to The Epoch Times on the Biden administration’s approval of the project, Protect Our Coast NJ President Robin Shaffer said though the decision is no surprise, it’s still alarming.

“We are concerned that Atlantic Shores with its towering skyscrapers in the ocean will spell trouble for critical habitats for fish, marine mammals and migratory waterfowl,” he said.

“Offshore wind construction and operations disrupt wildlife and ecosystems, and threaten the livelihoods of commercial fisherman and small businesses up and down the east coast.”

The organization is “incredulous” that these projects are moving at such as rapid pace, he said.