Construction Begins for First U.S. Port Dedicated to Offshore Wind

construction begins on first US port dedicated to the offshore wind industry
The NJ Wind Port will be the first in the US dedicated to the offshore wind industry (NJEDA)

Published Sep 10, 2021 4:16 PM by The Maritime Executive

Construction is beginning on the U.S.’s first purpose-built wind port designed to support the development of the offshore wind industry. To be located along the Delaware River in southern New Jersey, the New Jersey Wind Port will provide a location for staging, assembly, and manufacturing activities related to offshore wind projects on the East Coast.

The port will be located on an artificial island on the eastern shores of the Delaware River, southwest of the City of Salem. The site was selected in June 2020 after a 22-month assessment process that included involvement from the wind industry as well as government, and environmental stakeholders. 

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has been preparing the site and finalizing design since summer 2020. It is more than five miles from the nearest New Jersey residential area and provides space to grow operations over time. When the port is in full operation it may encompass more than 150 acres devoted to the manufacturing of materials for offshore wind farms.

Several potential tenants have already expressed interest in the site, including Orsted and Atlantic Shores which also won the bidding to develop offshore wind projects in the state. Their bids also included proposals to partner with turbine manufacturers GE and Vestas to build nacelle assembly facilities at the port. The NJEDA said that it will be launching an additional tenant selection process in the coming weeks to negotiate agreements with potential tenants for the port.

The State of New Jersey’s 2022 fiscal budget includes $200 million for the development of the New Jersey Wind Port in addition to $13 million from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. The New Jersey Department of Transportation will invest $44 million for the dredging to create the port.

“Investing in offshore wind is vital to building a stronger, greener economy that creates high-paying jobs to support a robust recovery from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and paves the way for long-term, equitable growth,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy during the ceremonial groundbreaking on September 9. “The New Jersey Wind Port will create thousands of high-quality jobs, bring millions of investment dollars to our state, and establish New Jersey as the national capital of offshore wind.”

In addition to supporting New Jersey’s commitment to producing 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2035, the goal of the wind port is to capture a large portion of the more than $150 billion of capital investment that will be required by 2035, and the more than 83,000 jobs projected to be created as the offshore wind industry develops along the U.S. East Coast.

As part of the groundbreaking ceremony, they also signed a project labor agreement between AECOM-Tishman, which was named construction manager for the project, and the United Building Trades Council of Southern New Jersey AFL-CIO. The agreement with the union sets the broad terms for all contractors working on the construction project.

Earthworks will begin on-site in the coming weeks and major construction is due to start in December 2021. The goal is to open the port in the winter of 2023/2024.