New Jersey picks Danish firm Orsted for wind energy project

June 21, 2019 - 7:11 pm

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey has chosen a Danish company to build a wind energy project off the coast of Atlantic City that could power half a million homes.

The state Board of Public Utilities on Friday chose Orsted to build a project that would generate 1,100 megawatts of electricity.

The company says the work could be completed by 2024.

The BPU said the project will cause an estimated monthly bill increase of $1.46 for residential customers, $13.05 for commercial customers and just over $110 for industrial customers.

Public Service Enterprise Group will assist with the project, which will be called Ocean Wind, and has the option to invest in it.

"Today's historic announcement will revolutionize the offshore wind industry here in New Jersey and along the entire East Coast," Gov. Phil Murphy said in a prepared statement. "Building our offshore wind industry will create thousands of jobs, invite new investments into our state, and put us on a path to reaching our goal of 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind by 2030."

Murphy, a Democrat, wants New Jersey to produce all its energy from clean sources by 2050.

Orsted already operates a windmill farm off Rhode Island's Block Island and has leases for other projects off New Jersey and Massachusetts.

"We're delighted that New Jersey has chosen Orsted to build the state's first large-scale offshore wind farm," Martin Neubert, the company's CEO, said in a statement. "Since Orsted developed the world's first offshore wind farm in 1991, we have pushed the industry forward to help turn offshore wind into a large-scale and cost-competitive source of clean energy."

Environmentalists welcomed the decision.

"This is the largest move yet in America to move forward with offshore wind," Doug O'Malley, director of Environment New Jersey, said in a statement. "These turbines will provide the clean energy engine we need to power our state with clean, renewable energy and finally tap the goldmine of offshore wind potential off the Jersey shore."

Curtis Fisher of the National Wildlife Federation said in a statement, "New Jersey is making a dramatic transformation from a fossil powered past to a clean, affordable and reliable energy future powered by offshore wind."

But some fishermen in the state, like Jersey Coast Anglers Association President Mark Taylor, are concerned about being allowed to fish close to the turbines and want to make sure state officials preserve their rights.

"We must have fishing access to fish right up to the bases of the turbines, input in the planning process and fisheries research and monitoring before, during and after construction for this to be a win for recreational fishermen," Taylor said in a statement.

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