September groundbreaking marked shift from project planning to construction
The New Jersey Wind Port is no longer merely on the drawing boards. Activity related to its construction has begun in earnest. On September 9, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh ceremonially broke ground on the Salem County facility, which is slated as a marshaling port for the U.S. offshore wind industry.
The New Jersey Economic Development Agency (NJEDA) says that the state’s $300 million investment in the wind port will create thousands of assembly, operations, and construction jobs. The port will provide a location for staging and assembly, and eventually also manufacturing, activities related to offshore wind projects, 17 of which are planned off the East Coast of the United States from Massachusetts to Virginia.
That is one reason the Salem County site was chosen, noted Tim Sullivan, NJEDA’s chief executive officer, adding that it has “easy access to more than 50% of the available East Coast offshore wind lease areas.”
NJ Wind Port Construction to Start in December
The New Jersey Wind Port is being developed on an artificial island on the eastern shores of the Delaware River, southwest of the City of Salem. Preconstruction activities such as concrete removal are now ongoing, while major construction on the port is due to start in December 2021 and operations are scheduled to begin in late 2023 or early 2024. In July, NJEDA formally chose AECOM Tishman as the construction manager for the site, and in recent days took other steps to ensure the project’s forward progress, including signing the ground lease with the site’s owner, the power company Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), on September 14. (See New Jersey prepares for its wind port)
In June, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) made what it claims is the nation’s largest award of offshore wind capacity to date—a total of 2,658 megawatts to Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, a project of Shell New Energies and EDF Renewables North America, and Ocean Wind II, a joint venture of the Denmark-based wind company Ørsted and PSEG. The award brings New Jersey’s total planned offshore wind capacity to over 3,700 megawatts, around half the 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy the state wants to bring online by 2035.
The remainder of the 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy is currently being competitively bid by PJM Interconnection, a regional grid operator, and NJBPU, seeking upgrade options to the existing grid to facilitate offshore wind energy inputs. The solicitation window closed on August 13, and NJBPU and PJM are now evaluating submissions. “New Jersey is the first and only state to utilize this approach,” said Joseph Fiordaliso, president of NJBPU.
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