Biden announces massive offshore wind initiative — which is great for N.J.

Gov. Phil Murphy has been pushing offshore wind energy projects since he took office — saying they are the future of a clean energy economy.

On Monday, he got support on the initiative from the highest level: President Joe Biden.

The Biden administration announced a massive, coordinated effort to bolster offshore wind projects on the East Coast, saying the goal is to generate 30 gigawatts of offshore wind in the U.S. by 2030 — which is enough energy to power 10 million homes.

The initiative includes a new wind energy area off the coast of New Jersey and Long Island, and it would speed up the permitting for projects off the East Coast.

The initiative isn’t just about the future, however.

As part of the announcement, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced an issuance of a Notice of Intent to advance Ocean Wind, Ørsted’s 1,100 megawatt offshore wind project 15 miles off the coast of New Jersey.

The NOI for Ocean Wind marks a critical step in the project’s federal review, one New Jersey has been eagerly awaiting. It is estimated that Ocean Wind could generate $1.17 billion in economic benefits for New Jersey and create thousands of good-paying union jobs over the life of the project.

News of the NOI was cheered by David Hardy, CEO of Ørsted Offshore North America.

“It’s a great day for the U.S. offshore wind industry and for all New Jerseyans,” he said. “Ocean Wind represents the first offshore wind project for New Jersey and one of the largest offshore wind contracts awarded in the U.S., and it will contribute significantly to the state’s ambitious renewable energy goal of supplying more than 3.2 million New Jersey homes with offshore wind power by 2035, as well as serve as an economic engine to provide jobs and infrastructure development in the state of New Jersey.”

Murphy was equally thrilled.

“Developing and growing New Jersey’s offshore wind capabilities has been among the highest priorities of my administration,” he said. “Building our offshore wind industry will allow us to protect our natural resources, while expanding the state’s economy through investments and good-paying, union jobs. I am grateful to the Biden administration for their bold actions to bolster the offshore wind industry and move our project forward. Today’s Notice of Intent is a monumental step toward our goal of 100% clean energy in New Jersey by 2050.”

The broader initiative indicates Murphy has put the state ahead of the game of a growing industry.

Biden’s initiative also promises to invest in research & development, provide low-interest loans to industry and fund changes to U.S. ports.

The plan, which includes the departments of the Interior, Energy and Commerce, could lead to more than 44,000 workers in offshore wind by 2030 and nearly 33,000 additional jobs in communities supported by offshore wind activity, Biden administration officials said.

Ed Potosnak, executive director of New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, said the comments from the White House forum on the subject is huge.

“Today’s forum was one of the most significant in recent history dedicated to improving the lives of all New Jerseyans by supporting the largest regional economic development opportunity in a generation, building off of the Murphy administration’s goal to make New Jersey a regional hub for offshore wind,” he said.

“Expanding our clean energy sector must be a core component of any sustainable green jobs recovery in New Jersey that builds a stronger, fairer and more equitable 21st century economy for all New Jerseyans. It’s good to see New Jersey has a national partner to move us forward.”

Hardy said Ørsted is eager to be a part of it.

“We believe that our projects provide a unique opportunity to fight climate change by transitioning to clean energy, while sparking growth and recovery through job creation, community investment, strategic partnerships, and workforce and economic development,” he said. “We look forward to continuing our efforts to bring about a new industry to our partners in New Jersey, including the state’s residents and businesses.”

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