BOEM’s approval of Ocean Wind 1 off the coast of Atlantic City is key for jobs and clean energy say elected officials

July 7, 2023

The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on July 5, 2023 announced it has approved the plan for construction and operations of the Ocean Wind 1 project offshore New Jersey. The Record of Decision (ROD) documents the decision to approve Ocean Wind LLC’s plan to construct up to 98 wind turbines and up to three offshore substations within its lease area.

“BOEM’s approval is a testament to the state of New Jersey’s leadership in supporting sustainable sources of energy and economic development with jobs for coastal communities. These are union jobs that are already providing training for local people in environmental justice communities,” said Caren Fitzpatrick, Atlantic County Commissioner, New Jersey, EOPA New Jersey Leadership Council. “BOEM’s decision also documents the extensive range of monitoring and mitigation measures that Ocean Wind 1 will undertake to reduce the potential for impacts to protected species, such as marine mammals, sea turtles, and Atlantic sturgeon. These measures include vessel speed restrictions and clearance zones during construction.”

Additionally, Ocean Wind has committed to three fisheries mitigation programs: a direct compensation program for reimbursement of lost revenues, a navigational safety fund for navigation equipment upgrades, and a reimbursement program for lost or damaged commercial fishing gear.

Located about 13 nautical miles southeast of Atlantic City, the project will have an estimated capacity of 1,100 megawatts of clean energy – capable of powering over 380,000 homes – and is expected to create more than 3,000 good-paying union jobs through development and a three-year construction cycle.

Ørsted, the company behind Ocean Wind 1, has already started a training program with local stakeholders and the state. The Wind Power Ready program is a local workforce development program developed in partnership with Rowan College of South Jersey and is funded through grants from Ørsted, the New Jersey Wind Institute for Innovation and Training, the Governor’s Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Businesses, community groups, labor unions, and environmental groups back responsible offshore wind development. 

“I’m excited by the opportunity the training program that Ocean Wind 1 represents, as it will recruit and train individuals from environmental justice communities in Atlantic City and the surrounding area to become wind farm technicians. The program’s hands-on practical experience approach means students could graduate to become offshore wind turbine technicians in less than 22 weeks, while being paid,” said Kaleem Shabazz, Atlantic City Councilmember, President of NAACP Atlantic City, EOPA New Jersey Leadership Council Member. “The promise of this program means communities hit the worst from the climate crisis and lack of job opportunities will finally be given a chance to succeed with good paying jobs, and experience better health outcomes.”

Ocean Wind 1 is BOEM’s third approval of a commercial-scale, offshore wind energy project in the United States, joining the Vineyard Wind project offshore Massachusetts and the South Fork Wind project offshore Rhode Island and New York, both now under construction and being built by union labor.

Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPA) has over 350 elected officials from CA, NJ and NY who have signed respective letters in favor of offshore wind. In New Jersey, 125 elected officials have signed the EOPA New Jersey letter.

“Offshore wind has the potential to be the biggest lever that we can pull to reduce our emissions, address the climate crisis, meet our energy needs, and grow our economy simultaneously. It’s poised to become a $1 trillion industry by 2040, creating thousands of good-paying jobs, providing clean renewable energy, and spurring economic growth. Elected Officials to Protect America fully supports the responsible buildout of offshore wind and sees it as a key component to solving the climate crisis,” said Dominic Frongillo, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPA). “Ocean Wind 1 is a milestone and represents the beginning of America’s clean energy future – independent from fossil fuels.” 

The Biden administration’s goal is to develop 30 gigawatts of renewable offshore wind energy by 2030.

On June 24, 2022, BOEM published a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). BOEM received over 1,300 comments from Federal, Tribal, state, and local government agencies; non-governmental organizations; and the general public during the comment period from June 24, 2022 to August 23, 2022. During this time, BOEM held three virtual public meetings to solicit additional feedback on the draft EIS from Tribal nations, local community members, commercial fishing interests, and other ocean users.

Elected Officials to Protect America is a network of current and former elected officials who care deeply about protecting the planet and people. EOPA is committed to solving the climate crisis, ensuring environmental justice, and protecting our lands and waters. EOPA educates through value-based storytelling, training lawmakers, and connecting elected officials to inspire strong environmental leadership. EOPA New Jersey is a statewide, non-partisan network of New Jersey elected officials committed to protecting our communities, public health, and climate for all we represent.