Offshore Wind Industry Resurgence in NJ?

I didn’t know much about renewable energy other than that I generally support a transition to cleaner forms of energy. When Orsted, a Danish-owned energy behemoth abandoned their plans to develop offshore wind energy in NJ, I knew it was time to pay closer attention. There’s a lot on the line. 

Last year when Danish energy company Orsted discontinued its billion-dollar project to build wind turbines off the Jersey coast, the future of NJ’s wind energy industry looked bleak.

The Gov’s office and top legislators quickly issued breathless statements reassuring residents that the state would push forward with clean energy plans anyway. Orsted’s about-face would not deter their renewable energy mission, they vowed. 

I had my doubts.

So, what’s been cooking on the renewable energy front since Orsted pulled up stakes last October?

Plenty, as it turns out. And one company in particular seems willing to fill the void that Orsted left in its wake. Last month, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities awarded Leading Light Wind a 2400 megawatt contract, which according to their release, is now the largest competitively awarded offshore wind project in the United States. Leading Light Wind is a joint project by American-led Invenergy and co-developer EnergyRe.

It seems Invenergy might be operating with the wind at their back. In December, Invenergy announced their acquisition of Jersey Link, a scalable (according to their website) and comprehensive high-voltage direct current (HVDC) to transmit up to 3,600 megawatts from offshore wind into New Jersey’s grid. With the potential power millions of New Jersey homes, it’s a quantifiably massive investment in NJ’s renewable energy future.

It also appears that Invenergy brought in the big guns to support their efforts.

McCarter & English’s Grace Power and Guillermo Artiles have been making the rounds on their behalf. The aptly named Ms. Power is one of New Jersey’s top energy policy experts. The former chief of staff at the BPU, Ms. Power previously chaired the Governor’s Energy Master Plan Committee.

Why is this important?

As a part of Gov Murphy’s 2024 Energy Master Plan, New Jersey will pursue the addition of 11,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2040. In order to accomplish that goal, and not have it be for naught, the Governor must follow through with plans to transmit that energy to residents while keeping ratepayers in mind. Because without reliable transmission lines, all the best windmills are of limited value.

Clean every is not the only goal  

Workforce development should be a key part of any clean energy project. If the Unions are on board, you will have a better chance at success and Jersey Link seems to have cleared that hurdle. 

William Sproule is a buildings trades potentate with the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters

“Workers must be engaged as New Jersey moves forward with major renewable energy investments,” Mr. Sproule said. “Invenergy has a proven track record of building strong partnerships with key project stakeholders including labor, and we expect that to continue with Jersey Link. We look forward to building new pathways for clean energy production and transmission in New Jersey.”

Will they be the only ones competing for these contracts?  Probably not. New Jersey heavy-hitter (and former Congressman Frank Pallone chief of staff Janice Fuller) is the President of OceanGrid, an Anbaric transmission project. So competition abounds. 

There were dozens of Republicans raining on offshore wind’s parade last October, and basically cheering the demise of New Jersey’s renewable energy future.  It appears that their criticisms and warnings were unfounded.

New Jersey is powering through and Invenergy just might have the overskud to get it done that Orsted lacked. 

(*Overskud= Danish for willingness and resources.)

Jay Lassiter is an award-winning writer and podcaster based in Cherry Hill, NJ.

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5 responses to “Offshore Wind Industry Resurgence in NJ?”

  1. The largest & closest in proximity of any offshore wind project in the country is being fast tracked 8.7 miles off our beaches. No other state will have as many turbines on its coastline than New Jersey. It’s nothing short than the industrialization of our shore. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management(BOEM) has stated they will NOT have an impact on climate change.

  2. The Democrats are unlawfully pushing through this plan for offshore wind turbine farms that will destroy the aesthetics of the Jersey shore and not provide any appreciable savings on energy or impact on climate change. What it will do though is cost the NJ shore tourism industry at least $5 BILLION DOLLARS per year, because no one will want to go down the shore to see giant wind turbines in their field of view as they look out over the ocean. And, how many more whales and dolphins, and fish will it harm and kill??? How many commercial and recreational fishing operations will it also kill????

    No, the Democrats have not thought it through, because they’re going to lose BILLIONS in revenue for lack of tourism at the Jersey shore, which is one of the best shore areas in the world. Sorry, but the Offshore Wind Industry Resurgence in NJ is a NO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. The wind farms mentioned in this article are 40 miles offshore and will not be seen from the shore. Without aggressive climate change initiatives, there will be no more jersey shore to protect.

  4. According to several articles, the wind farms mentioned in this article are going to start at 8-15 miles offshore. The horizon is 20-25 miles. If they even put wind turbines at the horizon, shore tourists and those with several floors on their ocean front homes will be able to see the windmills. The comment that “without aggressive climate change initiatives, there will be no more jersey shore to protect” is further evidence of the brainwashing that Democrats have suffered for the past two decades.

    When I took environmental studies courses in college in the 1970s, we were fed the disinformation that we were all going to freeze to death (from climate cooling) by 2000. We’re still here. Then they told us in the 1990s we were all going to die from the Ozone layer. Most of the Ozone layer dissipated from the Earth’s and Sun’s natural cycles. In the early 2000s we were all going to suffer and die from “global warming” until scientific evidence debunked it. So, the Leftists/ Democrats/Socialists/Communists (which are all one in the same) made up the phrase “climate change” as the new faux existential threat. Scientists all over the world are debunking “climate change” since the Earth’s temperature hasn’t changed since the 1930s, and “climate change” is nothing more than what the Sun gives as energy to the Earth.

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