Ørsted’s Ocean Wind Project sought the right to build transmission lines through a petition filing with the Board of Public Utilities late Wednesday, confirmed Maddy Urbish, head of government affairs and policy for Ørsted in New Jersey.
It’s a new process made possible for all offshore wind developers by a bill signed into law in July by Gov. Phil Murphy. It allows Ocean Wind and other projects to sidestep local approvals for transmission lines.
“This petition filing seeks to maintain the project’s timeline to meet critical permitting milestones and assure that construction and operations can commence on time,” Urbish said. “We continue to engage with local officials … and aim to negotiate agreements with local communities that facilitate the development of offshore wind and benefit all New Jerseyans.”
State Sen. Bob Smith, a sponsor of the bill, has said it would allow the distribution line for offshore power generation to go through any public space, including rights-of-way under municipal and county roads, if the BPU approves it.
“I really don’t have any response right now other than we will be assessing our options,” said Ocean City Council President Bill Barr, who strongly opposes the Ørsted project over fears visible windmills will ruin ocean views and harm the city’s vital tourism business. “I’d anticipate we will go into closed session to discuss our options as a governing body and we’ll go from there.”
Barr said it was his understanding Ørsted asked the city to do a CAFRA hearing on the project, and the city was not ready to give it to them for a variety of reasons.
“I guess we didn’t meet their timetable, so they went to the BPU. We’ll see what happens,” Barr said.
The next City Council meeting is Feb. 10, he said.
In previous public discussions with Ocean City, Ørsted representatives have said the likely route to bring power across the island would be at 35th Street, continuing through Upper Township to tie in to the power grid at the site of the former B.L. England Power Plant in Beesleys Point.
Gov. Phil Murphy is a strong supporter of offshore wind as a clean energy source and a way to meet his goal of 100% clean energy by 2050.
He also supports it as a way to create jobs in a new industry.
In June, the BPU awarded 2,600 more megawatts of capacity to two companies. They were Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, which will build a 1,510 megawatt farm off the coast between Long Beach Island and Atlantic City; and Ørsted, which will build another 1,148 megawatts in its leasing area in federal waters southeast of Atlantic City. Those two farms will provide electricity to about 1.1 million homes, according to BPU President Joseph Fiordaliso.
In 2019, Ørsted’s Ocean Wind was awarded the right to build the first 1,100 megawatts of offshore wind generation in the same leasing area, which will supply another 500,000 homes, he said.
There will be solicitations for more farms every two years until 7,500 megawatts are awarded, Fiordaliso said. The goal is to have 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind entering the grid by 2035.
Ratepayers will pay to build the projects, and the money generated by the sale of the energy will be returned to ratepayers under the plan.
According to the BPU, Atlantic Shores’ project is expected to add about $2.21 to the average residential monthly bill, $20.81 to the average commercial customer’s monthly bill and $172.25 to the average industrial customer’s bill. These bill impacts will not begin until the project is operational, which is estimated to occur in 2027-28.
Ocean Wind’s Phase 2 is estimated to add $1.28 per month for residential customers, $11.73 for commercial customers and $99.91 for industrial customers starting in 2028-29.
The two projects are estimated to create 7,000 full- and/or part-time jobs across the development, construction and operational phases of the projects, the BPU said.
Atlantic Shores is a 50-50 joint venture between EDF Renewables North America and Shell New Energies US LLC. The venture was formed in December 2018 to co-develop a lease area of 183,353 acres 10 to 20 miles off the coast between Atlantic City and Barnegat Light.
Ørsted is a Danish company that won the state’s first offshore wind solicitation in 2019 to build an 1,100-megawatt wind farm called Ocean Wind on a lease area about 15 miles southeast of Atlantic City. Ocean Wind is expected to begin operating in 2024 and is still awaiting federal approvals to begin construction.
Newark-based Public Service Enterprise Group bought 25% of the Ocean Wind project from Ørsted, which owns and operates 26 offshore wind farms around the world, including the first in the United States, the Block Island Wind Farm off Rhode Island.
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