Wind power developer bets big on Jersey coast

Atlantic Shores wins BPU approval for turbines and says it has plans to generate twice as much power
Credit: (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
File photo

Atlantic Shores, one of two offshore wind developers chosen by the state last month to build wind farms off the Jersey coast, is looking to eventually build up to 3,000 megawatts of wind turbines in lease areas it has obtained.

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved the 1,510-MW project in the southern portion of its lease area 10 to 20 miles off the coast between Atlantic City and Barnegat Light on June 30. The Atlantic Shores project is a joint venture of EDF Renewables and New Shell Energies LLC.

Atlantic Shores, however, has purchased leases for 183,000 acres — the largest yet obtained by an offshore wind developer — and hopes to develop the northern portion after obtaining approvals in future solicitations, company officials said during a virtual open house it sponsored Tuesday.

“We are doing everything we can to help New Jersey meet its clean-energy goals,’’ said Jessica Dealy of Atlantic Shores during one of the break-out sessions during the open house. New Jersey is hoping to build 7,500 MW of offshore wind capacity by 2035.

Supplying power, cleaning air, adding jobs

The initial project could supply power to up to 700,000 homes, avoid the equivalent of greenhouse-gas emissions from roughly one-third of all cars in New Jersey, and could create up to 22,290 jobs over its 30-year lifespan. The project is predicted to be operational by 2027, with 111 turbines, according to the company.

Atlantic Shores plans to bring the power onshore via underground transmission lines, initially to an Atlantic City landfill and ultimately to the Cardiff electricity substation operated by Atlantic City Electric, the utility serving more than a half-million customers in southern New Jersey.

“Atlantic Shores’ view fits well with Governor Murphy’s offshore wind goals,’’ said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey, referring to the company’s expansion plans. “In a time of climate crisis, we need to be expanding the megawatts we build as quickly as possible.’’

New Jersey, seeking to be a hub of the offshore wind industry, has now approved three offshore wind projects, totaling 3,758 MW, but none are operational. Ørsted won the state’s initial solicitation for 1,100 MW in 2018, and again this past June when it got approval to build another 1,848 MW.

Atlantic Shores also has agreed to invest $35.6 million in the emerging New Jersey Wind Port in Salem County. The state is building the port, the first such facility devoted exclusively to serving the offshore wind industry.

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