GE Renewable Energy's new 12 megawatt offshore wind turbine

Rendering of the 12-megawatt turbine made by GE Renewable Energy to power the 1,100 megawatt Ocean Wind offshore wind farm to be built off Atlantic City. 

Gov. Phil Murphy unveiled plans Tuesday for a massive South Jersey wind energy project he said would create thousands of jobs, produce millions in investment and position New Jersey as a leader in the green energy industry.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” Murphy said of the New Jersey Wind Port project, which would be built on a 200-acre site along the Delaware River in Lower Alloways Creek Township. The location is part of Artificial Island, a man-made island home to three nuclear power plants, owned by PSE&G, a partner with the state on the project.

Murphy's announcement came during Tuesday's daily COVID-19 press briefing. Although the project was unrelated to the daily health numbers, the governor said it was a major component of the state's plans to rebound from the economic shutdown that followed the pandemic.

The project would include both a manufacturing site on 25 acres, where parts for the wind turbines would be built, and a marshaling and staging area where the turbines would be assembled and put on ships, to be delivered to wind farms along the Eastern Seaboard.

Tim Sullivan, CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, said the project site was the perfect place to build, assemble and move windmills, which require infrastructure “as tall as the Eiffel Tower” to assemble the turbines. The site also is isolated and provides quick access to the ocean, without any obstacles, such as bridges, that block movement of the towering structures.

“We think this is the best-situated site in the northeast and North America,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan and Kelly said the project would lead to an estimated $500 million in annual impact and create hundreds of construction jobs and thousands of green energy jobs.

The port would position the state as a prime choice to service wind projects from the Carolinas to Maine, which are expected to eventually produce 25 gigawatts a year. A gigawatt is 1 billion watts, enough to power 725,000 homes annually. As part of it's energy plan, New Jersey wants to develop 7.5 gigawatts of offshore renewable energy by 2035. The state's goal is to achieve 100 percent clean energy production by 2050.

Conservationists are lauding the state's proposal.

"This site was supposed to have the fourth nuclear power plant for Artificial Island but now it will be a wind manufacturing and port facility," said Jeff Tittel, executive director of the NJ Sierra Club. "This shows that wind is our clean energy future and path to get to zero carbon, zero greenhouse gases, and carbon-free.”

Ed Potosnak, Executive Director of New Jersey League of Conservation Voters said the project also sets up the state to be a regional hub for offshore wind manufacturing, creating good jobs, something his group has been call for for years.

This is just the leadership we have been asking for,” Potosnak said.

Many of those jobs created would be union jobs, and would emphasize the inclusion of women and minority firms.

"We ask that the Governor remain vigilant about providing opportunities to marginalized workers of color who often don’t reap the benefits of these new initiatives." Potosnak said. "Any post-COVID-19 economic recovery must include everyone, no matter the color of their skin or their zip code.”

Murphy said he expects the same benefit and promised the jobs would be good paying union jobs, available to women and minorities.

“I want to see us move to a place we’ve never been before, and the offshore wind industry gives us an opportunity," Murphy said. “This is how we re-emerge, stronger, fairer and smarter.”

Work on the project would start in early 2021, Murphy said.

South Jersey has figured prominently in the state's plans to develop offshore wind energy. Orsted, a Danish company is developing a 1,100-megawatt wind farm off the coast of Atlantic City with plans to be online by 2024. In 2018, Murphy signed his Offshore Wind Economic Development Act executive order at the Atlantic County Utilities Authority Jersey-Atlantic wind farm in Atlantic City, the first coastal wind farm in the country. Murphy also chose Stockton University in Galloway Township as the site to release his energy master plan two years ago.

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