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Monday, July 22, 2024


Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind Project Wins Key Federal Approval

Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind Project Wins Key Federal Approval

By Vince Conti

Offshore Wind Turbines
Nuttawut Uttamaharad/

The Atlantic Shores South offshore wind energy project gained an important federal approval on Tuesday, July 2, when the Department of the Interior announced its final consent for the project, which will place 195 turbines off the coast of Atlantic City and Long Beach Island. The company says the turbines will be 12.8 miles offshore at their closest point.

Atlantic Shores inherits the position of New Jersey’s first large-scale wind farm after the withdrawal of the Danish firm Orsted from its Ocean Wind commitments last October. Its South project is expected to eventually produce about 2.8 gigawatts of power, enough to provide for the needs of almost a million homes.

The project had a clear path to approval when the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management recently issued its final environmental impact statement, which presented no serious impediments to the construction of the wind farm.

Atlantic Shores still needs federal approval of its construction and operations plan, along with some state-level permits that are expected to be issued without difficulty.

President Biden’s national climate adviser, Ali Zaidi, said in a statement July 2,Today’s approval of an offshore wind project that has a labor agreement with six New Jersey unions reflects the win-win opportunities that we are seizing to benefit local workers and communities. The Biden-Harris administration will continue to use every available tool to grow the American offshore wind industry as we strengthen the nation’s power grid and tackle the climate crisis.”

But opposition to Gov. Phil Murphy’s offshore wind initiative has grown in New Jersey, where a Monmouth University poll showed a drop in public support from 76% in favor in 2019 to a bare majority of 54% in 2023. A September poll from Stockton University showed similar results, with 2023 support for the offshore wind initiative at 50%. The Stockton poll said opposition has grown from 15% in 2019 to 33% in 2023.

One of several groups opposing offshore wind farms, Protect Our Coast NJ, responding to the Atlantic Shores approval, said that federal and state authorities “are forging ahead like a bull in a China shop, hurting overburdened communities and our incredible ocean with unwanted industrial construction projects.”

As expected, environmental groups praised the approval, with the New Jersey Sierra Club’s director, Anjuli Ramos-Busot, saying, “We are proud to see New Jersey move towards renewable energy and offshore wind development, and away from dirty fossil fuels.”

The Atlantic Shores project was part of the state’s second solicitation for wind farm development. Murphy and the Board of Public Utilities have accelerated the schedule for the fifth solicitation, which is expected to be issued in the second quarter of 2025.

Despite opposition, New Jersey has continued to move ahead on plans to meet Murphy’s target of 11,000 megawatts by 2040. With this approval, the Interior Department says it has approved 13,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy capacity nationwide. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a release, “Our clean energy future is now a reality.”

Haaland’s statement comes even as there is still a long road to be traveled for the approved wind farms to be constructed and become operational. If the current schedule holds, offshore work will begin in late 2026 or early 2027, with most of the turbines installed in 2028. Power is expected to start flowing from Atlantic Shores South by 2029.

Contact the reporter, Vince Conti, at


Vince Conti is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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