BOEM Gives Green Light for Ocean Wind 1 Offshore New Jersey

The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has approved the plan for construction and operations of the Ocean Wind 1 project offshore New Jersey.

Located about 13 nautical miles southeast of Atlantic City, the project will have an estimated capacity of 1,100 megawatts of clean energy – capable of powering over 380,000 homes – and is expected to create more than 3,000 good-paying jobs through development and a three-year construction cycle.

The announcement marks the Biden-Harris administration’s third approval of a commercial-scale, offshore wind energy project in the United States, joining the Vineyard Wind project offshore Massachusetts and the South Fork Wind project offshore Rhode Island and New York, both now under construction and being built by union labor. These projects represent significant progress toward the Administration’s goals of developing 30 gigawatts of clean, renewable offshore wind energy by the year 2030, while protecting biodiversity and multiple uses of the ocean.

“Since Day One, the Biden-Harris administration has worked to jump-start the offshore wind industry across the country – and today’s approval for the Ocean Wind 1 project is another milestone in our efforts to create good-paying union jobs while combatting climate change and powering our nation,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “By working closely with state and local leaders, Tribes, ocean users, and other stakeholders, we are moving forward with responsible clean energy development that will benefit communities, while also mitigating potential impacts on the environment or marine life.”

“Ocean Wind 1 represents another significant step forward for the offshore wind industry in the United States,” said BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein. “The project’s approval demonstrates the federal government’s commitment to developing clean energy and fighting climate change and is a testament to the state of New Jersey’s leadership in supporting sustainable sources of energy and economic development for coastal communities.”

President Biden’s Investing in America agenda and “Bidenomics” strategy are growing the American economy from the middle out and bottom up – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to driving over $490 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States, to creating good paying jobs and building a clean energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient. The Administration is making a once-in-a-generation investment in America’s infrastructure and our clean energy future and taking the next steps to bring offshore wind energy to additional areas around the country.

The Record of Decision (ROD) documents the decision to approve Ocean Wind LLC’s plan to construct up to 98 wind turbines and up to three offshore substations within its lease area.

The decision also documents the extensive range of monitoring and mitigation measures that Ocean Wind will undertake to reduce the potential for impacts to protected species, such as marine mammals, sea turtles, and Atlantic sturgeon. These measures include vessel speed restrictions and clearance zones during construction. Ocean Wind has also committed to three fisheries mitigation programs: a direct compensation program for reimbursement of lost revenues, a navigational safety fund for navigation equipment upgrades, and a reimbursement program for lost or damaged commercial fishing gear. BOEM worked with Tribes, federal, state, and local government agencies and reviewed comments provided by industry, ocean users, and other key partners and stakeholders to develop these measures.

On June 24, 2022, BOEM published a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), initiating a 45-day public comment period, which was later extended until Aug. 23, 2022. During this time, BOEM held three virtual public meetings to solicit additional feedback on the draft EIS from Tribal nations, local community members, commercial fishing interests, and other ocean users. BOEM received over 1,300 comments from Federal, Tribal, state, and local government agencies; non-governmental organizations; and the general public during the comment period.

BOEM held Tribal consultation meetings with Delaware Nation and Delaware Tribe of Indians in June 2021, and with Delaware Tribe of Indians and Shinnecock Indian Nation in November 2022. BOEM also held five meetings as part of the National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 process with 37 consulting parties (made up of Tribal nations, federal agencies, state agencies, local governments, nongovernmental organizations, private property owners, and the lessee), to identify avoidance and mitigation measures for potential impacts to historic and cultural resources and properties.

BOEM considered the information obtained from these meetings when developing the final EIS, a critical step to ensure the project can move forward while balancing the needs and interests of everyone who may be affected by the development.

In the past two years, the Biden-Harris administration has made progress towards catalyzing a new clean energy industry, by investing in workers and communities, while protecting biodiversity and ocean co-use. BOEM expects to review at least 16 Construction and Operations Plans of commercial, offshore wind energy facilities by 2025, which would represent more than 27 GW of clean energy for the nation.

 

 

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