New Jersey intends to become a major hub for offshore wind in the United States. The state recently announced a plan to build a 30-acre port along the Delaware River for assembling and deploying wind turbines, as well as an additional 25 acres for manufacturing facilities. The new port is expected to cost as much as $400 million and create 1,500 jobs in southern New Jersey.
The port will be located on an artificial island that was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers early in the 20th century. The island is already home to three nuclear reactors. No bridges exist between the island and the Atlantic Ocean, so turbines that are built at the staging facility could be hoisted upright and towed out to sea without obstruction. Some components are as tall as 500 feet and when fully constructed on the ocean, the turbines selected for New Jersey’s first offshore wind project will be more than 850 feet tall.
A second phase of the program would add over 150 acres to accommodate extensive manufacturing facilities for turbine components like blades and nacelles.
Construction on the port is expected to start next year. New Jersey has pledged to produce 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2035 and to generate 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2050. Apart from deploying offshore wind, New Jersey wants to have a significant piece of the supply chain for what is likely to be a growing industry along the northeast coast. The state views offshore wind as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to not only protect the environment but also greatly expand its economy in a way that has immediate impacts and long-term growth.
Photo, posted September 18, 2010, courtesy of Vattenfall Nederland via Flickr.