New Jersey wind
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy during the announcement of the new offshore wind-focussed port. Image credit: Clarion Energy

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has announced plans to develop the New Jersey Wind Port, an infrastructure investment that will provide a location for essential staging, assembly, and manufacturing activities related to offshore wind projects on the East Coast.

The Wind Port has the potential to create up to 1,500 manufacturing, assembly, and operations jobs, as well as hundreds of construction jobs in New Jersey, said the governor.

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Manufacturing and marshalling projects supported by the Wind Port will drive economic growth in Salem County, in South Jersey, and throughout the state. The State said it will use union labor to construct the Wind Port and intends to set a new standard for inclusion of minority and women workers and business owners.

Construction is targeted to begin in 2021 and will take place in two phases. Phase 1 will develop a 30-acre site to accommodate marshalling activities and a 25-acre component manufacturing site. Phase 2 adds another 150+ acres to accommodate expanded marshalling activities and extensive manufacturing facilities for turbine components like blades and nacelles. The State currently estimates the Wind Port will cost between $300-400 million at full build. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) is leading development and is currently considering a range of public, private, and public-private partnership (P3) financing options.

As part of the state’s 100 percent clean energy by 2050 plan, New Jersey has committed to producing 7,500 MW of offshore wind energy by 2035.

Studies highlighted the need for new port facilities designed specifically to meet the offshore wind industry’s unique needs. For example, wind turbines must be partially assembled at a port and then shipped out to the ocean vertically, with components as tall as 500 feet. When fully constructed on the ocean, the turbines selected for New Jersey’s first offshore wind project will be more than 850 feet tall. Given the height of the turbines, offshore wind marshalling ports must be located outside of all vertical restrictions, such as bridges, and must have wharfs that can accommodate up to 800 tons, or more than two fully loaded Boeing 777s. Most existing port infrastructure along the East Coast is unable to accommodate this work.

The New Jersey Wind Port will be located in Lower Alloways Creek Township, on an artificial island on the eastern shores of the Delaware River, southwest of the City of Salem. The site was selected after a 22-month assessment process, including engagement with industry, government, and environmental stakeholders. The site is more than five miles from the nearest New Jersey residential area, can be built to meet the offshore wind industry’s needs, and has ample space to grow operations over time.

The NJEDA is leading development on behalf of the state and is working closely with the landowner, PSEG (Public Service Enterprise Group). The site is next to PSEG’s Hope Creek Nuclear Generation Station, and the company has partnered with the NJEDA to complete preparatory work to accelerate the project’s construction.

According to current projections, the New Jersey Wind Port has the potential to create jobs for workers in a variety of industries, including construction, manufacturing, port operations, and engineering. The State is committed to using union labor to build the port and setting a new standard for equitable access to opportunity and inclusion of minority and women workers.

Most jobs at the port will not require four-year college degrees and workforce development efforts are being prepared to ensure these opportunities are accessible to Salem County residents. For example, the recently announced WIND Institute will serve as a center for education, research, innovation, and workforce training related to the development of offshore wind.

Watch Governor Murphy’s announcement by playing the video below:

“The New Jersey Wind Port represents a significant step in New Jersey’s progress as a hub for the growing clean energy economy, creating new jobs and enabling new economic development,” said PSEG Chairman, President and CEO Ralph Izzo.

“By providing a location that can accommodate the industry’s manufacturing and marshalling needs, the New Jersey Wind Port will make New Jersey an international leader in offshore wind and a hub of the East Coast wind industry,” said Liz Burdock, President and CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind. “This is a concrete step toward an offshore wind supply chain born in the USA.”

“On behalf of the Building Trades, I want to thank Governor Murphy and his administration for making this project a reality,” said Dan Cosner, Business Manager of IBEW Local 351 and President of Southern NJ Building Trades Council. “This project announcement could not have come at a better time considering the uncertainly of the future of construction due to the Covid-19 and recent economic downturn in the economy. These jobs that will be created for the Building Trades and for the Wind Industry after the facility is built will allow South Jersey to continue to thrive while also helping with meeting the Governor’s goals of the energy master plan. Once again on behalf of the South Jersey Building Trades and IBEW Local 351 thank you to everyone who made this possible!”

“The New Jersey Wind Port will be an incredible project that benefits the entire state, but it will be particularly important for South Jersey,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney. “Creating thousands of jobs in a region that has been overlooked in the past is crucial to addressing our current economic challenges and laying the foundation for future economic growth.”

To learn more about the New Jersey Wind Port, please visit: https://nj.gov/windport

Originally published on Renewable Energy World.