Offshore wind developer Ørsted and specialty steel fabricator EEW say they will develop a $250 million facility to manufacture monopile components for the entire U.S. wind industry at the port of Paulsboro, N.J., on the Delaware River.
Gov. Phil Murphy billed it as “the largest industrial offshore wind investment in the United States to date” creating more than 500 skilled jobs at build-out, “jobs at a time when New Jersey’s economy has been ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic.” A groundbreaking is planned for January to have the facility producing monopiles starting in 2023.
The Paulsboro Marine Terminal was touted early on by offshore wind advocates as a potential Mid-Atlantic base for the U.S. industry, and the partnership of Ørsted and EEW pledged to use southern New Jersey as a manufacturing center for monopiles to build the 1,100-megawatt Ocean Wind project off Atlantic City.
That promise led to a dust-up earlier this year between the developer and state Senate president Steve Sweeney and other legislators, who have invested years trying to redevelop the Paulsboro terminal. At one point they even demanded that state utility regulators halt the Ocean Wind plan until the companies lived up to their pledge.
The plan now is to use 70 of the terminal’s 120 acres for monopile work. Down the Delaware River – beyond the vertical clearance constraints of Philadelphia-area highway bridges – is planned the New Jersey Wind Port, near the Hope Creek nuclear generating station, where turbine and tower components would be assembled and transported to sea for installation.
“This state-of-the-art factory will be a catalyst for change in Paulsboro and the surrounding area, creating much needed construction, manufacturing and supply chain jobs for many decades,” said Lee Laurendeau, CEO of EEW-American Offshore Structures, in a joint statement with the governor’s office Dec. 21. “Along with the New Jersey Wind Port, the Paulsboro monopile factory will secure New Jersey’s position as the manufacturing epicenter of the emerging Offshore Wind Industry. EEW would like to thank the Governor and Ørsted for their commitment and support in enabling this exciting opportunity for South Jersey.”
The announcement came after the state Board of Public Utilities said it has received two applications from wind developers to fulfill New Jersey’s second solicitation for offshore wind power capacity, seeking 1,200 to 2,400 MW which would potentially triple the maximum output of Ocean Wind. Along with a new bid from Ørsted, Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind – a partnership between Shell New Energies US LLC and EDF Renewables North America – put its offer in, and the BPU anticipates awarding one or both projects in June 2021. The agency could call for a third round of new proposals of at least an additional 1,200 MW in 2022, according to the governor’s office.