Wind power developers proposed four new projects off the New Jersey Shore on Friday, a surge that would more than double the number of wind farms built off its coast if they are approved by regulators.
At least two of them are more than twice as far out to sea than others that have drawn the ire of residents who don’t want to see windmills on the horizon. These two would not be visible from the beach, the companies proposing them say.
They would join three wind farms already approved by New Jersey regulators as the state races to become the East Coast capital of the fast-growing offshore wind industry.
In the first project to be made public Friday by the companies proposing it, Essen, Germany-based RWE and New York-based National Grid applied for permission to build a wind farm in the waters off Long Beach Island. Their joint venture is called Community Offshore Wind, and it aims to generate enough electricity to power 500,000 homes.
Unlike other projects that have drawn intense opposition from homeowners in part because they are close enough to the Atlantic City and Ocean City shorelines to be seen by beachgoers, this project would be built 37 miles offshore and would not be visible from the shore, said Doug Perkins, president and project director of Community Offshore Wind.
He said the project has ‘the potential to transform New Jersey into a nation-leading clean energy development, training and manufacturing hub.’ He said his company is the second-largest wind power developer globally, following Danish wind developer Orsted.
Community Offshore said it has not yet determined how many wind turbines would be built as part of the project.
The second bid was submitted by Chicago-based Invenergy and New York-based energyRE for a project 40 miles off Long Beach Island called Leading Light Wind. It would consist of up to 100 turbines, enough to power 1 million homes.
The company is playing up its American ownership as the foreign ownership of key players in New Jersey’s offshore wind industry has generated opposition in some quarters.
‘Leading Light Wind is ready to build out a world-leading domestic offshore wind industry with American-led ingenuity and expertise,’ said Ryan Brown, energyRE’s chief operating officer.
And the two companies that received approval to build the Atlantic Shores wind farm — Shell New Energies US and EDF Renewables North America — submitted a bid to build a second as yet unnamed project 10 to 20 miles offshore. The companies have lease areas in the large expanse of ocean between Atlantic City and Barnegat Light on the northern tip of Long Beach Island, but they did not specify exactly where the second project would be built.
They also did not say how many turbines it would include or how many homes its electricity could power.
Friday night, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities said a fourth application had also been received, but would not release any information about it. The company or companies proposing it had not come forward publicly to discuss their plans.
Community Offshore and Leading Light said that while they plan to take advantage of existing federal tax credits, they will not seek the same sort of tax break that New Jersey recently approved for Orsted, which is being challenged in a lawsuit brought by opponents of offshore wind.
Atlantic Shores, which earlier this year indicated it wanted similar tax relief to that given Orsted, said Friday it is not asking for anything specific from state government but is in talks with the governor’s office, the utilities board and the Legislature about what might be possible.
The proposals unveiled Friday come in addition to the three projects already approved by New Jersey regulators. Orsted is building two wind farms, called Ocean Wind I and II. And Shell New Energies US and EDF Renewables North America are partnering on the Atlantic Shores project.