Biden Administration Greenlights Major Offshore Wind Project in New Jersey -
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Biden Administration Greenlights Major Offshore Wind Project in New Jersey

The Department of the Interior approved a major offshore wind turbine project in New Jersey on Tuesday.

The Interior Department announced that the Atlantic Shores South project will be situated about 8 miles off the coast of New Jersey. It will include 195 wind turbines supported by 10 offshore substations and subsea transmission cables that could connect to Atlantic City and Sea Girt, New Jersey.

The project will consist of two wind farms that will have the capacity to generate 2,800 megawatts of electricity that can power up to one million homes, the DoI said.

The department said it’s the ninth offshore wind energy project at a commercial scale to get federal approval.

These nine projects will generate up to 13 gigawatts of offshore wind-generated energy, enough to power up to 5 million homes.

“The Biden-Harris administration is building momentum every day for our clean energy future, and today’s milestone is yet another step toward our ambitious goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore energy by 2030,” said Interior Department Secretary Deb Haaland.

“Our clean energy future is now a reality—thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda we are addressing climate change, fostering job growth, and promoting equitable economic opportunities for all communities.”

Atlantic Offshore Wind is a partnership between Shell New Energies and EDF Renewables North America.

Joris Veldhoven, CEO of Atlantic Offshore Wind, highlighted the federal approval as a crucial step towards realizing New Jersey’s inaugural offshore wind projects and reaching the state’s goal of 100% clean energy by 2035.

He emphasized the milestone’s significance and expressed enthusiasm for collaborating with supply chain partners to make immediate investments and generate well-paying union jobs.

Atlantic Shores Wind estimates that one of the wind farm initiatives will inject $848 million into the local economy through job creation and workforce development, contributing to a total economic benefit of $1.9 billion for the state.

In May, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) released its joint decision on Atlantic Shores Wind’s environmental impact statement (EIS), concluding that the project will result in “negligible to moderate adverse impacts on most resources.”

BOEM’s report emphasized that extensive consultations and analysis showed that approving the Preferred Alternative would not unduly harm environmental resources or unreasonably interfere with other uses of the outer continental shelf (OCS).

Elizabeth Klein, BOEM’s energy management director, described the project as a collaborative effort. She underscored BOEM’s commitment to engaging with Tribal Nations, states, government agencies, industry, environmental organizations, and ocean users to ensure responsible development while addressing community concerns and protecting marine ecosystems.

Some of those community concerns have been expressed by organizations such as Protect Our Coast NJ, which has opposed the construction of offshore wind farms, stating that they will ruin the tourism industry that centers around the scenic beachside views.

These organizations have claimed that the infrasound tools used in surveying for the wind turbines are disrupting the navigation of whales and dolphins, which increases fatal vessel strikes.

Officials have denied the correlation in previous reports.

In an emailed statement on the Biden administration’s approval of the project, Protect Our Coast NJ President Robin Shaffer said though the decision is no surprise, it’s still alarming.

“We are concerned that Atlantic Shores with its towering skyscrapers in the ocean will spell trouble for critical habitats for fish, marine mammals and migratory waterfowl,” she said.

“Offshore wind construction and operations disrupt wildlife and ecosystems, and threaten the livelihoods of commercial fisherman and small businesses up and down the east coast.”

The organization is “incredulous” that these projects are moving at such as rapid pace, she said.

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