A $400 million manufacturing facility in Salem County along the Delaware River would be the premier "wind port" in the United States, Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday in announcing the massive project.
New Jersey already has taken the lead on off-shore wind farm projects, with one project already in the works and another round of bidding expected later this year for a second project.
The Salem County facility would allow construction and shipping of turbine parts and other infrastructure to sites along the Eastern Seaboard.
Off-shore wind turbines are much larger than those on land, and will require an extensive supply chain and manufacturing process as projects enter into the construction phase in the years ahead.
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Neither of New Jersey's two planned "off-shore wind farms" are expected to begin that phase for at least a couple more years. Permitting by federal and state authorities, and surveying of the ocean floor, as well as community outreach, takes years of planning, officials with companies working on the projects and proposals say.
Still, off-shore wind is expected to take off in scope over the next decade, with projects proposed for locations along the East Coast from South Carolina to Maine.
Murphy said the state-backed wind farm in Salem County would generate 1,500 jobs and make it the leader in wind energy.
"We have set the stage for New Jersey to become a global leader in wind energy, and now we're seizing it with the creation of the nation's VERY FIRST purpose built offshore wind port," he said in a tweet following his announcement.
Last June, New Jersey chose a Danish company, Ørsted, to be the first company permitted to build a wind farm off the state's coast. Its project is called Ocean Wind. The farm it is building will "provide more than half a million New Jersey homes with clean and reliable energy," according to the company.
Ørsted's wind farm is expected to generate 1,100 megawatts of electricity. It will be erected off the coast of Atlantic City by 2024, the company has said. The company already operates the only current off-shore wind farm in the United States, a five-turbine farm off Block Island, Rhode Island. It began operations in 2016.
Another company, Atlantic Shores LLC, which is a joint venture between Shell New Energies US and EDF Renewables US, began surveying a massive area of ocean floor off the New Jersey coast last month.
Atlantic Shores' plot, which it received through a federal bidding process, stretches eight to 20 miles off the Jersey Shore between Atlantic City and Barnegat Light on Long Beach Island. Company officials have said its off-shore wind farm could generate up to 2,500 megawatts of power.
The company is expected to be a leading bidder for New Jersey's second permitted wind farm.
Combined the Ocean Wind and Atlantic Shores projects would combined for nearly 50% of New Jersey's off-shore wind energy goals.
Last November, Gov. Phil Murphy signed an order doubling that goal to 7,500 megawatts by 2035.