As an Assembly Committee gets set to hold a hearing on offshore wind farms today, Rep. Bill Pascrell was elated to recently hear that the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) would begin the next phase of development off New Jersey’s coastline.
According to BOEM, the next step is drafting the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for two offshore wind energy projects that would help meet the administration’s goal in providing nearly 30 giga-watts of offshore wind energy to Garden States residents by the year 2030.
The two projects (if approved) could generate about 2,800 megawatts (MW) of electricity, enough power to support almost one million homes with electricity. Pascrell’s led the entire New Jersey congressional delegation in January 2022 in petitioning the Biden White House to construct these two offshore wind energy projects.
“So-called ‘once in a century’ storms are occurring a lot more than every hundred years,” said Pascrell. “The BOEM has rightly put forward a draft environmental study to accelerate wind energy development in our state.”
Pascrell noted the expected benefits to the Atlantic Shores projects include creating more than 22,000 new full-time jobs, power nearly one million homes and an estimated $1.9 billion in benefits to New Jersey expected to be created over the life of this project.
Offshore Wind Farms
“Atlantic Shores has shown a commitment to making our state a leader in the green economy by investing in workforce training programs with New Jersey academic institutions and using local union labor from six unions operating in our state,” said the 9th District Congressman. “All told, fighting climate change and giving our nation clean energy and more union jobs depends on us expanding wind energy projects far, wide, and fast.”
According to BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein , Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, LLC has submitted a combined Construction and Operations plan (COP) for two wind energy facilities and associated export cables on the Outer Continental Shelf, off the New Jersey coastline.
The two projects referenced as Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind Project 1 and 2, will collectively be known as the Atlantic Shores South Wind Project. The two projects will together construct up to 200 total wind turbines and up to ten offshore substations with sub-sea transmission cables from sea to landfall within two designated locations in New Jersey, Atlantic City, Sea Girt or both.
The development/construction site is expected to cover approximately 102,124 acres and is approximately 8.7 statute miles offshore New Jersey at its closest point.
Project 1 was awarded by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities an Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Certificate for 1,510 MW that would in effect provide enough renewable energy to power 528,000 New Jersey homes. Project 2 is seeking certification that would provide 1,327 MW of renewable energy to power about 464,450 New Jersey homes.
Both projects are expected to boost New Jersey’s workforce by utilizing and training members from 6 New Jersey labor unions—Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, Laborers’ International Union of North America, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 456, Local 400 and Local 351, along with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825, Ironworkers International and Eastern Millwright Regional Council.
Additionally, the agreement provides funding in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education programs, environmental protection efforts, and research for Rutgers University, Stockton University and Rowan College.
Controversy Surrounding Wind Farms
Offshore wind farms has become a political football in the state. Parcell’s support comes just days after an FDU poll reported 39% of New Jersey residents want the state to stop the development of offshore wind farms, while 35% believe the project should continue unobstructed. When the question is linked to the death of whales and dolphins, 46% want it stopped.
GOP lawmakers have called for a moratorium on the work of wind farms in the Atlantic Ocean after hearing for over two hours about the negative effects the green energy initiative would have on the environment and economy of the Jersey Shore during a virtual forum held May 3. State Senate Republicans received testimony on the surge of whale and dolphin deaths along the New Jersey beaches in recent months and potential links to wind farms that are under development.
As a response, the Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology Committee will hold what they are calling a “science-based hearing on marine mammal deaths” May 18. In the Democrats press release, they said the committee will hear from experts in the scientific community to help lawmakers and the public understand the issue from a fact-based perspective that will feature subject area experts from government and academia who have been studying the increase in marine mammal deaths since 2016 when the “Unusual Mortality Event” along the Atlantic coast from Maine to Florida was first triggered by NOAA.
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