Sweeney: New Jersey’s offshore wind industry is a boon for jobs and the climate | Opinion

Steve Sweeney

New Jersey uses offshore wind power to create offshore jobs.

This was demonstrated by an agreement last month for Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind to purchase a giant steel monopile manufactured by EEW at its Paulsboro plant as the foundation for a number of wind turbines anchored to the ocean floor off Atlantic City. rice field.

The $250 million plant, which will employ 500 union steelworkers at the Paulsboro Marine Terminal on the Delaware River, is the nation’s largest offshore wind industry supply chain manufacturing investment. The $400 million New Jersey Wind Farm, built 37 miles south on Lower Alloways Creek in the Delaware Bay, is being built as a manufacturing, assembly and shipping center that employs 1,500 workers.

Together, the two facilities will represent the largest onshore infrastructure investment in any state to support the burgeoning offshore wind industry.

These are just some of the reasons that New Jersey government leaders believe that nationwide efforts to combat climate change will inevitably lead to the installation of hundreds of offshore wind turbines, creating thousands of high-paying onshore jobs for a forward-looking state. It is the result of the recognition that it provides an opportunity to create.

Nationwide offshore wind program finally moves forward for more than a year with Rep. John Verjikeri, chief sponsor of New Jersey’s Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credits Act of 2010 and promoter of the Paulsboro and Windport projects It’s a pleasure to see you do. 12 states receiving significant support from President Joe Biden.

Of the 36 GW of potential wind energy in offshore leases awarded across 1,000 miles of coastline from Maine to North Carolina, 10 leases totaling 10.2 GW are offshore New Jersey, the largest wind farm on the Atlantic coast. are concentrated.

In September, Governor Phil Murphy increased New Jersey’s target for offshore wind to 11 gigabytes. This is second only to California’s target of 25 gigawatts.

Two Ocean Wind and two Atlantic Shores projects, located 10 to 20 miles off the coast of Atlantic County and capable of generating up to 4.8 gigawatts, are entering the permitting phase. of energy forecasting. Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind 1 has a 2027 target.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of the Interior has submitted six leases awarded in New York Bay (the continental shelf 50 to 60 miles offshore from Monmouth County to Cape May County) for expedited regional environmental reviews for federal approval. bottom. By 2024 instead of his usual four years. Harvesting power from New York Bay is essential to achieving Biden’s goal of powering his 30 gigawatts with offshore wind by 2030.

Not long ago, leasing offshore wind farms was a hot topic. Lease payments for the Ocean Winds and Atlantic Shores projects in 2016 were just over $1 million each, or about $1,625 per square kilometer of ocean in today’s dollars, the U.S. Department of Energy calculates. Six years later, in February 2022, the six New York Byte leases totaled $4.3 billion, averaging $2.2 million per square kilometer.

Last February’s sale — and last month’s California lease sale that brought in more than $2 million per square kilometer — shows utilities and developers confident in the long-term benefits of offshore wind farms. indicates that current high inflation economy.

The United States is the world leader in onshore wind energy, with thousands of turbines running at its heart from the Northern Plains to Texas, supplying 136 gigawatts, or 9.1% of the country’s electricity. Despite this progress, we are still a latecomer. Only two pilot projects are currently in operation in Rhode Island and Virginia.

Offshore wind is already supplying 28 gigawatts of electricity to Europe, which pioneered the technology 30 years ago, and will soon reach Asia after China made major investments to add an additional 13.8 gigawatts in 2021 alone. of offshore wind surged to 23 gigawatts.

Offshore wind will benefit New Jersey’s economy, with the New Jersey Public Utilities Commission estimating that Atlantic Shores will generate $1.9 billion in economic activity and create 3,100 jobs, while Ocean Wind II will add $1.7 billion to the state’s economy. We estimate it will create 3,700 jobs.

BPU has wisely focused more on economic development and job creation than most states in its power purchase agreements.

In addition to utilizing the steel monopoly in Paulsboro, Ocean Wind and Atlantic Shores have each agreed to build turbine housing component manufacturing facilities in Windport, New Jersey. Atlantic Shores is also launching a pilot project that uses wind energy to produce hydrogen and mix it with natural gas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A similar contract is expected from the New York Bight wind farm contracted by BPU. According to the University of Delaware, despite economic development requirements, electricity prices in New Jersey generated by Ocean Wind and Atlantic Shores are above Massachusetts and below New York, Maryland, Connecticut and Rhode Island. We have reached the national average for wind contracts. study.

We have made great strides in developing a diversified green energy portfolio.

We have saved nuclear power plants that supply more than 40% of our energy and closed the last coal-fired power plant.

It pilots the use of hydrogen to reduce emissions from natural gas and produces more solar power per capita than any state outside the Sun Belt.

The addition of large-scale offshore wind energy to our portfolio will make significant progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the next few years.

Steve Sweeney, who served as President of the Senate from 2010 to 2022, is Advisory Chair of the Steve Sweeney Center for Public Policy at Rowan University.

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