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Offshore wind plant coming to South Jersey port

State leaders said the $250 million project would create jobs and transform a riverfront site into a hub for the growing offshore wind industry.

Danish wind developer Orsted Energy operates offshore wind farms in Europe.
Danish wind developer Orsted Energy operates offshore wind farms in Europe.Read moreOrsted Energy

A South Jersey riverfront site that was once polluted by oil will be home to a manufacturing plant for the growing offshore wind industry, local and state leaders said Tuesday.

Gov. Phil Murphy, Senate President Stephen Sweeney and other South Jersey officials gathered at the Paulsboro Marine Terminal on the Delaware River in Gloucester County to announce the partnership with the Danish offshore wind company Ørsted and the German pipe manufacturer EEW, which will together lead the $250 million project.

“This spot upon which we are standing will soon be the site of a state-of-the-art factory which will turn out steel components not just for the offshore wind farms to come off of our own coast, but for the offshore wind industry nationwide,” said Murphy, adding that the deal represented the largest investment in such manufacturing in the country to date.

The facility will manufacture wind turbine components and is expected to create 500 jobs, Murphy said, most of them unionized. Construction is scheduled to begin next month, with the goal of starting production in 2023.

The 200-acre property is the remediated site of a former BP Oil facility. Sweeney and other local leaders have for years hoped to use the location to tap into the burgeoning wind industry, and a bill aimed at encouraging the development of turbines was signed at the site a decade ago by then-Gov. Chris Christie, but projects languished. Now, Sweeney said, New Jersey is poised to become a hub for wind manufacturing.

“Every state on the East Coast has been chasing it,” he said. “And guess what? We’re getting it.”

The announcement also represented a win for Murphy, who has pledged to make the state a leader in the offshore wind industry and said the state will generate 50% of its electricity from clean sources by 2030, and 100% by 2050.

» READ MORE: Wind energy eyes restart in N.J. with Gov. Phil Murphy in office

On Tuesday he said the announcement of the Paulsboro deal on a former oil site symbolized the evolution from an economy dependent on fossil fuels to one that runs on clean energy. Earlier this year, Murphy announced plans to build a wind port in Salem County, next to the Hope Creek nuclear plant.

“The impact of the offshore industry on our state will be huge, and it’s got global significance,” he said.

The New Jersey League of Conservation Voters applauded the project, as did Jeff Tittel, executive director of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club.

“This is a major step forward in offshore wind and getting New Jersey toward a greener economy,” he said in a statement. “This new facility will create green jobs and help jump-start our economy at a time when we need it most.”