As part of the Biden-Harris administration’s goal to deploy 30 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030, the Department of the Interior has announced that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will conduct an environmental review of two proposed wind energy development projects offshore New Jersey.
“The Interior Department is moving rapidly to develop a clean energy future with good-paying union jobs,” says Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “Offshore wind holds enormous potential for our nation, and the wind resources offshore New Jersey are no exception. As we kick off this process, the Department will continue to do our part to ensure the development of our offshore renewable energy resources is done responsibly and sustainably.”
Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind LLC (Atlantic Shores) submitted a plan to construct and operate two commercial-scale offshore wind projects in federal waters approximately 8.7 miles from the New Jersey shoreline. The first of the two projects will have a capacity of 1,510 MW, enough to power over 700,000 homes. Throughout their lifecycles, the projects are expected to generate over 22,290 jobs. The projects could also help New Jersey meet its ambitious goal to develop 7.5 GW of offshore wind energy generation by 2035.
BOEM will publish a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in the Federal Register on Sept. 30, 2021. Publication of the NOI will open a 30-day public comment period. During this time, BOEM will hold three virtual public meetings and accept comments to inform the preparation of the EIS. These meetings and public comments will help BOEM determine the scope of the important resources and issues, impact-producing factors, reasonable alternatives, and potential mitigating measures that should be analyzed in the EIS.
“We are committed to facilitating a transparent and inclusive process for every offshore energy development project,” states BOEM Director Amanda Lefton. “Public input plays an essential role for identifying and mitigating potential impacts from proposed energy development activities. That is why BOEM is committed to working closely with ocean users, such as commercial fishermen, as well as industry, Tribes, government partners, and conservation organizations, to make sure offshore wind development is done in an environmentally safe and responsible way.”
The 30-day public comment period extends through 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Nov. 1, 2021.