Survey work began last week for the Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind LLC project off New Jersey, a 50/50 partnership between Shell New Energies US LLC and EDF Renewables North America.

The developers submitted a proposal in December to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to supply up to 2,300 megawatts of wind energy. It’s the second solicitation by state officials, following Ørsted’s winning bid for 1,100 MW from its planned Ocean Wind project. Atlantic Shores holds a 180,000 federal lease north of the Ørsted tract, off Long Beach Island and Atlantic City.

If Atlantic Shores wins its state bid and the necessary state and federal permits, the company says it could have a complete project as early as 2027. The survey work, coming on top of the Biden administration’s determination to advance the wind industry, is fanning fresh debate in the Garden State.

Homeowners in beachfront resorts like Long Beach Island and Ocean City, who worry about the visual effect of turbines on the horizon, are connecting with fishermen who say the potential environmental effects need much more research.

The momentum is exciting for businesses, labor unions and their political allies who see opportunity to build New Jersey into a critical base for the offshore wind supply chain. With shipyards and Delaware River port facilities – including some downriver, past the vertical clearance constraints of Philadelphia-area bridges – the region has potential to accommodate the next generation of bigger turbine structures and their attendant installation vessels.

The 170-foot survey vessel Fugro Enterprise started work Friday, March 19 within the lease area and along potential export cable routes that would carry power to landfall sites near Atlantic City and Manasquan, N.J. Continuing survey work in support of the bid process will run 24/7 until August but may run longer depending on weather and operational conditions, according to a Notice of Mariners put out by Atlantic Shores.

The developers’ contract fleet includes the Tidewater Regulus 270’ multiservice offshore support vessel, conducting geotechnical borings and seabed piezocone penetration tests (PCPTs) in the Atlantic Shores lease area for soil characterization starting April 15.

The Alpine Shearwater starts May 15, when the 110’ vessel will conduct geotechnical vibrocores along potential export cable routes for soil characterization.

Northstar Marine, based in Cape May County, N.J., is mobilizing its Northstar Commander June 1, when the 240’ vessel will conduct seabed PCPTs along potential export cable routes and in the lease area for soil characterization.

Northstar is making investments to offer more services to wind developers on the East Coast, and recently entered an alliance with Laredo Offshore Services, Belle Chase, La., to serve that market. The Laredo Brazos, the company’s three-legged 230’ liftboat, will get to work off New Jersey June 14, to perform geotechnical boreholes for the potential export cable route landfall areas.

Contributing Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been an editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for over 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.

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