Ocean Wind 1, New Jersey’s first offshore wind farm, reached a major regulatory milestone this month with the release of the project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
Completed by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and published in the Federal Register on May 26, the EIS assesses the physical, biological and social/human impacts of the proposed project and all reasonable alternatives as well as proposed mitigation measures. Through careful evaluation and stakeholder feedback, the EIS concludes that the proposed plans for Ocean Wind 1 represent responsible renewable energy development and prioritize the preservation of natural resources, wildlife and other important environmental factors.
“The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement is an exciting milestone for Ocean Wind 1 and demonstrates forward progress of the federal permitting process,” said Maddy Urbish, Head of Government Affairs and Market Strategy, New Jersey, Ørsted. “We appreciate the work from all the federal agencies involved in this comprehensive analysis and look forward to bringing the benefits of renewable energy to New Jerseyans while supporting the state’s clean energy goals.”
The input and public comments received during Ocean Wind 1’s draft EIS comment period in 2022 informed the preparation of the Final EIS, which will be reviewed and considered when BOEM determines whether to approve the Ocean Wind 1 Construction and Operations Plan.
“The BOEM publication of the Final EIS represents the culmination of years of thoughtful and thorough environmental studies, analyses, reviews and stakeholder interaction and engagement,” said Katharine Perry, Permit Manager, Ørsted. “It reinforces that Ocean Wind 1 can and will be developed with a clear focus on protecting and preserving New Jersey’s vast natural resources.”
Ocean Wind 1 has demonstrated a strong commitment to environmental stewardship through extensive dialogue with key environmental and marine stakeholders. This collaborative approach has enabled Ocean Wind 1 to design its plans in a manner that effectively avoids or mitigates potential adverse effects on the surrounding ecosystem.
The Final EIS evaluation of the proposed actions for Ocean Wind 1 indicates numerous environmental and economic benefits for the region. From an environmental perspective, the benefits suggest an improvement in the region’s air quality, contributing to a long-term net decrease in greenhouse gas emissions. This reduction in emissions will help to mitigate climate change and provide lasting benefits to local communities. Additionally, the Final EIS indicates that the project’s proposed actions will directly benefit the local economy and are expected to have long-term positive effects on employment and economic activities.
“Since its introduction, Ocean Wind 1 has clearly stated and delivered unique and significant economic opportunities for South Jersey, unlike anything we have seen in recent history,” said Christina Renna, President and CEO, Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey. “The development of offshore wind in our region shines a bright light on all we have to offer including land available to support the industry and access to a talented work pool, eager to pursue and fill jobs in this new and quickly growing field.”
“This milestone demonstrates another step toward unlocking the vast potential of offshore wind in New Jersey,” said Michael Chait, President, Greater Atlantic City Chamber. “The educational and economic benefits of Ocean Wind 1 are already on display in Atlantic City through a partnership with Rowan College of South Jersey in recruiting potential job applicants, a relationship with Atlantic Cape Community College’s Wind Training Center and the construction of Ørsted’s Operations and Maintenance Facility here. We need to continue to diversify our local economy, and offshore wind holds a key role in helping to make that happen.”
With this achievement, Ocean Wind 1 remains on track to begin onshore construction in the fall of this year, with offshore construction set to begin in 2024. Once completed, Ocean Wind 1 will advance New Jersey’s offshore wind industry, providing clean energy to half a million homes, and delivering thousands of jobs and local supply chain opportunities in New Jersey.
“Each step forward in the development of Ocean Wind 1 and other offshore wind projects represents another step forward in identifying more opportunities for good-paying union jobs for our members and for members of other building trades groups,” said Richard Sweeney, President and Business Manager, Iron Workers Local 399. “New Jersey as a hub of offshore wind development will continue to ignite growth and prosperity throughout the South Jersey region today and for many years to come.”
A global clean energy leader, Ørsted develops, constructs, and operates offshore and land-based wind farms, solar farms, energy storage facilities, and bioenergy plants. Ørsted is the first energy company in the world with a science-based net-zero emissions target as validated by the Science Based Targets initiative.
In the United States, the company has approximately 650 employees and a growing portfolio of clean energy assets and partnerships that includes offshore wind energy, land-based wind energy, solar, storage technologies and e-fuels. A leader across the renewable energy sector in the United States, Ørsted holds the top position in offshore wind energy with approximately 5 gigawatts in development and operates America’s first offshore wind farm, located off the coast of Block Island. Ørsted has a total U.S. land-based capacity of 5 gigawatts across wind, solar, storage technologies and e-fuels. To learn more about the Ørsted U.S. business, visit us.orsted.com or follow the company on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@ØrstedUS).