New York State Energy & Development Authority

NJ - New Jersey's Biggest Wind Farm Yet Just Got Approved By Federal Govt.

On Nov. 20, the federal government approved Empire Wind 1 and 2, two new wind farm lots 19 miles off Long Branch.

LONG BRANCH, NJ — Last week, the U.S. federal government approved the biggest lot to date of wind turbines to be built off the Jersey Shore.

On Nov. 20, the Biden-Harris administration approved the Empire Wind 1 and 2 offshore wind project, according to this press release from the U.S. Department of the Interior.

And on Wednesday, Gov. Phil Murphy directed the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to launch a fourth round of offshore wind solicitation, beginning in early 2024. That means that sometime in the new year, companies can bid to build more wind farms off New Jersey.

Empire Wind 1 and 2 will be two wind farms right next to each other, located about 14 miles south of Long Island and 19.5 miles east of Long Branch; see the map above.

If it gets built, Empire Wind will be New Jersey's biggest wind farm so far: Together, the two offshore wind lots will total nearly 80,000 acres of ocean. They will be permitted to have up to 147 wind turbines combined.

That's bigger than the Atlantic Shores wind farm approved to be built off Barnegat Light (110 turbines), and bigger than the now dead-in-the-water wind farm Orsted said it was going to build off Atlantic City (98 turbines).

Empire Wind 1 and 2 will be owned and operated a joint partnership between BP (oil and gas behemoth British Petroleum) and Equinor Wind LLC, a Norwegian energy company, according to the Empire Wind website.

This comes less than a month after Danish company Orsted made the surprise 3 a.m. announcement on Oct. 31 they were pulling out of plans to build wind farms off Atlantic City. Orsted said the project was too expensive — despite the fact that the NJ Legislature gave them nearly $500 million in tax breaks to build the wind farms.

Gov. Phil Murphy released a furious statement after Orsted backed out, saying at the time: "Orsted's decision to abandon its commitments to New Jersey is outrageous and calls into question the company’s credibility and competence."

Murphy said he would be considering litigation against Orsted, although as of Nov. 29 the state of New Jersey has not sued Orsted.

Orsted's 98 turbines would have started 15 miles out. They would have been visible from Atlantic City beaches on very clear days, according to these renderings released by the company. So it's unlikely the Empire Wind turbines will be visible from Long Branch beaches, as they will be 19 miles out.

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