Alternative Energy Developments in New Jersey
On July 5, 2023, the United States Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) granted its third approval of a commercial-scale offshore wind energy project, known as Ocean Wind 1, which envisioned the construction of up to 98 wind turbines and up to 3 offshore substations off the coast of New Jersey.
Following BOEM’s decision, New Jersey residents filed suits in federal and state court challenging the project. The project developer, Orsted, filed its own suit against two New Jersey counties, citing permitting delays. By October, Orsted announced that it would “cease development” of Ocean Wind 1 and Ocean Wind 2 due to “high inflation, rising interest rates and supply chain constraints,” but emphasized its progress on other projects in its portfolio.
Another large-scale wind energy project slated for development off the coast of New Jersey, known as Atlantic Shores Project 1, is facing similar challenges, but for the time being, is expected to begin construction in 2024.
In connection with its ambitious goal of producing 30 giga-watts of offshore wind power in the United States by 2030, the Biden Administration has approved three more commercial-scale wind energy projects since its approval of Ocean Wind 1, including Empire Wind 1 and Empire Wind 2, which would entail construction of up to 147 wind turbines off the coast of New York and New Jersey. On January 3, 2024, however, Empire Wind project developers, Equinor and bp, announced a “project reset” on Empire Wind 2, citing “inflation, interest rates and supply chain disruptions” preventing the project from achieving financial viability. Progress on Empire Wind 1 currently appears unaffected by this decision.
Additional alternative energy project proposals aimed at achieving federal and state clean energy goals, including large-scale wind and solar developments in New Jersey, are expected in 2024. Litigation and macroeconomic challenges during the siting, planning, and construction phases are likely to follow, as evidenced by the projects mentioned above.
If you are interested in reading more about this topic, please see the July 2023 MGKF Litigation Blog, discussing neighboring residents’ challenges to large-scale wind energy projects across the United States.