Wind energy, liquid gas projects move forward in New Jersey

by WAYNE PARRY Associated Press

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Wind energy companies proposed projects off New Jersey’s ocean coast Thursday, as an environmental group vowed to appeal approval of a hotly contested liquefied natural gas terminal on the Delaware River.

Orsted, the European wind energy firm, said Thursday it has submitted a bid to build “Ocean Wind 2,” a wind farm that would generate 2,400 megawatts of electricity — more than twice the amount of a separate project for which it already has been approved off the coast of Atlantic City.

The company’s original 1,100-megawatt Ocean Wind project will produce power for half a million homes.

In a statement, Orsted said Thursday’s bid includes what it considers significant investments into New Jersey’s offshore wind manufacturing capabilities, though it did not give dollar figures.

In September, New Jersey State Senate President Steve Sweeney and two other legislators asked the state Board of Public Utilities to suspend approval of Orsted’s original project off Atlantic City and to consider whether to replace the company. They said Orsted has not delivered enough economic benefits to the state and local communities, which the company disputed.

Also Thursday, Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind proposed an offshore wind farm between Atlantic City and Barnegat Light capable of powering 1 million homes with up to 2,300 megawatts of electricity.

It is a joint venture between EDF Renewables North America and Shell New Energies US LLC.

The deadline for submitting project bids to the BPU in the latest round was 5 p.m. Thursday.

At the state’s opposite coastline along the Delaware River, environmental groups are smarting from a regional commission’s Wednesday approval of a port to handle liquefied natural gas shipments in a section of Greenwich Township in Gloucester County at the site of a former DuPont explosives plant.

The Delaware River Basin Commission upheld its initial approval of the plan, which was proposed by Delaware River Partners, a subsidiary of New Fortress Energy, to provide a transit point for liquefied natural gas by rail, truck and boat.

Tracy Carluccio, a spokesperson for Delaware Riverkeeper, said Thursday the environmental group will appeal the decision in federal court. She said the group, which challenged the proposal in regulatory proceedings, did not receive a fair hearing.

She said the project’s impacts on water quality were not adequately considered, including “the irreparable harm that will be done to rare habitat and species at this location, such as the federally endangered Atlantic and Shortnose sturgeon.”

The company did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, called the agency’s approval of the project “the worst decision the commission has ever made.”

He said the project still needs permits from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Coast Guard.

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