When you think of New Jersey, the first things that likely come to mind are its shorelines and its casinos. But did you know the state aims to be the hub for America’s blossoming offshore wind energy industry? In fact, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, announced last month that the New Jersey Economic Development Authority will lead the development of the New Jersey Wind Port, the country’s first port dedicated solely to constructing colossal and efficient turbines that could one day span the Eastern seaboard as states begin utilizing more renewable energy.
The New Jersey Wind Port will be built on an artificial island in the Delaware River in Lower Alloways Creek Township in Salem County, next to the Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Station. Public Service Electric & Gas Co., which owns the nuclear plant, also owns the land on which the wind port will be built.
New Jersey’s Green Energy Plan
The port is part of the state’s comprehensive plan to acquire all of its electricity from green energy by the middle of the century. Because New Jersey is already one of the nation’s fastest-warming places, the state wants to generate 7,500 megawatts from offshore wind by 2035, which is enough to power half of New Jersey’s homes. Beyond combating climate change, New Jersey plans to work as an economic engine behind offshore wind.
The idea is to create a facility where the turbine blades required for offshore wind farms can be manufactured, then placed on ships and sent out to sea for deployment. The facility could supply wind projects currently being considered from North Carolina to Maine, according to Governor Murphy. Wind turbines specific for offshore wind are so large they must be partially assembled at a port and then shipped out to the ocean vertically, with components as tall as 500 feet. Construction will begin next year, and upon completion, the port will provide the turbines necessary for the state’s planned wind farm off the coast of Atlantic City.
The cost of the New Jersey Wind Port is estimated at $300-400 million, and could generate $500 million of economic activity a year once it is fully functional. The Murphy Administration expects the port to employ 1,500 permanent employees in addition to hundreds of construction contractors.
A Look at the Potential of Wind Energy
Over the past decade, wind has become a strong competitor to the coal and nuclear industries. Wind power now accounts for about 7 percent of all the nation’s electricity. Along with impressive opportunities for onshore wind, the United States also has ample offshore wind energy resources.
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), our shores possess a power potential of more than 2,000 gigawatts (GW). This is almost double America’s present electricity use. This potential presents a significant opportunity to deliver copious amounts of clean and reliable electricity to the country’s population.
Stable state policies, not just in New Jersey, but also in Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and others are critical for the advancement of America’s offshore wind industry. These policies will help achieve scale and develop an American supply chain. With appropriate policies in place, the U.S. could create 83,000 jobs by 2030.
More Wind Energy Development to Come
Currently, there are 15 active commercial leases for offshore wind development in the U.S. If these leases are fully built, there is the potential to support approximately 25 GW of offshore wind capacity. Industry experts and analysts believe the U.S. offshore wind industry will continue to boom in the upcoming years, bringing with it a new and prosperous American industry.
As you’ve learned, the New Jersey Wind Port could very well make New Jersey a leader in the offshore wind energy industry. In addition to helping tackle global warming, the port will help strengthen the American economy.
How Can I Support Wind Energy?
Curious about how you can support wind energy? Learn about offsetting your usage with wind Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) through Spring Power & Gas’ innovative electricity plan, Spring Green + Wind RECs. If you’re interested in learning more about different wind energy technologies, be sure to check out our blog post All You Need to Know About Wind Energy Technologies.