New Jersey resuscitates offshore wind with two new projects

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Ørsted dealt New Jersey a massive blow by canceling 2.2 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind last year, but the state just added 3.7 GW of new projects to its pipeline.

New Jersey was expected to announce another offshore wind solicitation at the beginning of 2024, and it’s delivered. Its Board of Public Utilities (BPU) has awarded contracts to Leading Light Wind and Attentive Energy Two – what will become two of the US’s largest offshore wind farms.

The 2.4 GW Leading Light Wind will be sited more than 40 miles off New Jersey’s coast and is expected to power more than 1 million homes. A joint venture of Invenergy and energyRe, they’re the first US-based developers to have won a competitive contract for a US offshore wind farm. Construction is expected to begin in 2028, and the completion target is 2032. 

The 1.34 GW Attentive Energy Two will be sited 42 miles off New Jersey’s coast, will connect at Sea Girt, and is expected to power more than 650,000 homes. It’s a joint venture of TotalEnergies, Rise Light & Power, and Corio Generation. (Attentive Energy One is a 1.4 GW project in New York State announced in November 2023.) Attentive Energy’s website doesn’t say when Attentive Energy Two will start construction, but it states that it’s committed to the “state’s mission of achieving a 100% clean energy economy by 2035.”

The BPU has made some contract changes this time around to prevent the problems – and subsequent cancellations – that occurred with Ørsted’s planned offshore wind farms. That includes rising or falling inflation adjustment of 15%, performance bonds to ensure completion, and both projects must post performance security money.

TotalEnergies also stated in a press release that “the profitability of the project is ensured” by a guaranteed level of Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Certificate (OREC) revenue. It has a first-year set price of $131 per MWh after it comes online, and the price will be inflated yearly by 3%.

Both projects have agreed to buy their wind turbine monopiles from EEW’s factory in Paulsboro, New Jersey, which experienced a setback when Ørsted canceled Ocean Wind 1. Domestic manufacturing benefits US offshore wind because it drives down prices – enormous components don’t need to be shipped from Europe – and it also qualifies the projects for further Inflation Reduction Act tax credits.

New Jersey aims to achieve 11 GW of offshore wind by 2040 and will launch a fourth offshore wind solicitation early this year.

Read more: Ørsted just axed plans for two New Jersey offshore wind farms – here’s why


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