Years of Planning Pay Off for New Jersey's Offshore Wind Ports
The State of New Jersey is determined to bring in new jobs, economic impact, and clean energy from the development of the offshore wind industry off the U.S. East Coast - and it’s backing up its efforts with more than $1 billion of public and private investment.
Over the next decade, this new industry will bring in an estimated $109 billion worth of investment, and officials in New Jersey want to ensure the state leverages its ports, its infrastructure and its skilled workforce to claim its share. Centered in the middle of the Atlantic Coast's wind energy lease areas, New Jersey has prime real estate for basing offshore wind installation and operations activity. The South Jersey Port Corporation and key state agencies are "all in" to capture a large share of this budding industry.
The opportunity is vast. The United States has set a goal of installing 30,000 MW of offshore wind, and more than half of this national goal can be reached in New Jersey and New York alone. As a measure of industry interest in the region, February's lease auction for six lease blocks in the New York Bight area brought in $4.37 billion - the highest total ever paid in a competitive U.S. offshore lease round of any kind, including oil and gas leasing.
New Jersey has been working for years to get ready for this moment. It has planned and invested in the infrastructure for offshore wind for over a decade, and now the stars have aligned for the state to reap the benefits.
In 2019, the state awarded a 1,100 MW power procurement agreement to Orsted OceanWind I, which is planned to begin service by 2024. Earlier this year, the state awarded an additional 1,150 MW to Orsted for Ocean Wind II and 1,500 MW to EDF Renewables / Shell for their Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind project.
To support these new projects, Governor Phil Murphy has allocated $265 million for the development of the future New Jersey Wind Port to serve as a marshaling site for wind components. These funds are in addition to $13 million committed by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and $45 million in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Transportation for dredging projects.
The Wind Port is a first-in-the-nation $300 million infrastructure investment that will provide a dedicated location for essential staging, assembly, and manufacturing activities. It will be located on an artificial island on the eastern shores of the Delaware River near Salem, New Jersey, with an approach channel that does not have any vertical restrictions. It is projected to create 1,500 jobs and $500 million in annual economic activity.
In the long term, the New Jersey Wind Port has the potential for over 150 acres of additional manufacturing and development opportunities. Several potential tenants have already expressed interest in the site, including Ørsted and Atlantic Shores. Both offshore wind developers indicated they intend to build their projects at the Wind Port. Their winning bids also included proposals to partner with turbine manufacturers GE and Vestas to build nacelle assembly facilities at the port.
As impressive as it may be, the Wind Port is only one of the manufacturing sites and marine terminals springing up to support this new industry in New Jersey. With commitments from Ørsted, EEW America Offshore Structures is building a $300 million clone of its German monopile manufacturing facility at the Port of Paulsboro, which is owned by the South Jersey Port Corporation (SJPC). The investment will transform a defunct petrochemical tank farm at the Port of Paulsboro into a major offshore wind manufacturing hub. At full buildout, EEW’s Paulsboro site will include six massive manufacturing facilities and 500 employees – working three shifts a day, six days a week - to churn out out 100 massive monopiles a year.
The SJPC's foresight and planning helped make this job-creating project possible. Since 2009, the SJPC has invested nearly $400 million to build a heavy-deck port at the Port of Paulsboro to serve as a general cargo port, with the vision that it would eventually be an ideal location for the emerging offshore wind industry.
Seven miles north of the Wind Port, SJPC is upgrading its Salem Marine Terminal. With its multi-modal rail connections and its barge berths along the river, the Salem Port is ideal for logistical and maintenance support for offshore wind.
These sites are located less than 60 miles from the federal Priority Wind Energy Area, and they have space and facilities available to support offshore wind activity today. The South Jersey Port Corporation has 500-plus acres of affordable, available land to meet the needs of offshore wind businesses. These sites have excellent infrastructure connections, including dockside rail access in Camden, Paulsboro, and Salem, as well as robust CSX and Norfolk Southern rail services.
For more information on South Jersey Port Corporation and to get in touch, please visit https://www.southjerseyport.com/contact/.
This message is sponsored by SJPC.
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.