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The governor of New Jersey has unveiled plans to develop what is being described as the United States’ “first purpose-built offshore wind port”, with construction work on the $300 million to $400 million project scheduled to begin next year.
It’s expected that building work will involve two phases. The first will focus on the development of a 30-acre area for marshalling activities as well as a manufacturing site for components that will span 25 acres. The second will extend the scheme’s footprint by more than 150 acres.
The project is to be based on an artificial island in Lower Alloways Creek Township, authorities said Tuesday.
“Offshore wind is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to not only protect our environment but also greatly expand our state economy in a way that has immediate impacts and paves the way for long-term growth,” Governor Phil Murphy said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The New Jersey Wind Port will create thousands of high-quality jobs, bring millions of investment dollars to our state, and establish New Jersey as the national capital of offshore wind,” Murphy added.
“This is a vital step forward in achieving our goal of reaching 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2035 and 100 percent clean energy by 2050.”
The plans for New Jersey represent another step forward for America’s fledgling offshore wind sector and were welcomed by industry groups.
“A thriving and innovative American offshore wind sector is close, but we need to invest in improved ports and infrastructure to make it a reality,” Erik Milito, president of the National Ocean Industries Association, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Expanded port and manufacturing facilities up and down the East Coast will bolster the construction bandwidth for offshore wind, creating efficiencies and reducing the risk of prohibitive delays,” Milito added.
The U.S. offshore wind sector is still in the early stages of its development and has some way to go before it catches up with other parts of the world.
The United States’ first offshore facility, the 30 megawatt (MW) Block Island Wind Farm, only started commercial operations in 2016.
And while no other offshore wind farms in the U.S. have come online since then, a number of large-scale schemes are now in the works.
These include the 2.64 gigawatt Dominion Energy Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind commercial project, which is planned for waters off the coast of Virginia Beach.
According to Siemens Gamesa, one turbine is able to power roughly 18,000 average European households annually, while its capacity can be boosted from 14 MW to 15 MW if needed. A prototype of the turbine is set to be ready by 2021, and it’s expected to be commercially available in 2024.