Construction plans for the 1.1-gigawatt (GW) Ocean Wind 1 project being developed by Ørsted have been approved by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), paving the way for the nation’s third commercial-scale wind project in federal water.

Located offshore New Jersey, the project is estimated to produce enough clean electricity to power more than 380,000 homes, BOEM said July 5. Ørsted plans to construct up to 98 wind turbines and up to three offshore stations about 13 nautical miles southeast of Atlantic City.

“Ocean Wind 1 represents another significant step forward for the offshore wind industry in the United States,” BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein said in a statement. “The project’s approval demonstrates the federal government’s commitment to developing clean energy and fighting climate change and is a testament to the state of New Jersey’s leadership in supporting sustainable sources of energy and economic development for coastal communities.”

Ocean Wind 1 wind stages
(Source: Ørsted)

Approval of the project’s plan for construction and operations came amid U.S. efforts to develop 30 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030. Ocean Wind 1 will become the third large-scale wind project being developed offshore, following Vineyard Wind offshore Massachusetts and South Fork Wind offshore Rhode Island and New York.

The record of decision announced July 5 for Ocean Wind 1 clears the project for construction. Developers aim to start onshore construction in fall 2023. Ørsted said offshore installation of the project’s monopile foundations and GE Haliade-X wind turbines is expected to begin in 2024. PSEG will provide construction management, environmental permitting support and compliance services for the onshore substations and transmission cable installation scope, according to a news release.

Commercial operations are scheduled to start in 2025.

Ocean Winds 1 map
(Source: BOEM)

“Ocean Wind 1 is on the cusp of making history as construction on New Jersey’s first offshore wind farm is set to begin in a few short months, delivering on the promise of good-paying jobs, local investment and clean energy,” said David Hardy, Group EVP and CEO Americas at Ørsted.

New Jersey is targeting offshore wind capacity of 3.5 GW by 2030 and 7.5 GW by 2035.

The announcement was welcomed by industry groups. These include the Business Network for Offshore Wind, which pointed out that seven more offshore wind projects are in the pipeline with a combined generation capacity of about 14 GW.

“Momentum is building in the U.S. offshore wind industry with two wind farms in the water and the next projects receiving approval to begin construction,” said Liz Burdock, founder and CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind. “Alongside this progress, the U.S. supply chain is coming to life as factory workers in Paulsboro, New Jersey, fabricators in Baltimore, Maryland, and construction workers at New Jersey’s wind port are manufacturing Ocean Wind 1’s turbine components and ports.”

BP and Equinor’s proposed 2.43-GW Beacon Wind project offshore Massachusetts is among the other projects seeking regulatory approval. BOEM recently began the environmental review phase for the project, which includes Beacon Wind 1 and Beacon Wind 2. Together, they could power more than 850,000 homes each year. Plans include installing up to 155 turbines, two offshore substation platforms and two offshore export cables, which will make landfall in Astoria, New York and Waterford, Connecticut.