New Jersey plans to build a 200-acre “wind port” that could cost $300 million to $400 million and would be located in Salem County next to the Hope Creek nuclear plant, with the goal of aiding the state’s fledgling offshore wind industry, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday.

Murphy said the New Jersey Wind Port, which he calls “a first-in-the-nation infrastructure investment,” will provide staging, assembly, and manufacturing activities related to offshore wind projects along the East Coast, not just New Jersey.

The governor said the project has the potential to create as many as 1,500 jobs, as well as hundreds of construction jobs in the state.

The facility would complement the state’s current plan to achieve 100% clean energy by 2050, in part, through 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2035.

Offshore wind installations need new port facilities to meet their unique needs, state officials said. New Jersey has already picked Ørsted Ocean Wind to build the first offshore wind project, a 1,100-megawatt installation 15 miles off the coast of Atlantic City.

Tuesday’s announcement “will revolutionize the offshore wind industry here in New Jersey and along the entire East Coast,” Murphy said. "Building our offshore wind industry will create thousands of jobs, invite new investments into our state, and put us on a path to reaching our goal of 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind by 2030.”

Gov. Murphy's plans call for a 200-acre New Jersey Wind Port to be build adjacent to the Hope Creek Generating Station in Salem County.
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Gov. Murphy's plans call for a 200-acre New Jersey Wind Port to be build adjacent to the Hope Creek Generating Station in Salem County.

In addition, officials said the project will help economic growth not only in Salem County, but also throughout South Jersey. Union labor will be used to build the port, and the project will “set a new standard for inclusion of minority and women workers and business owners,” according to a statement from Murphy’s office.

Construction is expected to begin in 2021 and last years. The project has two phases of construction. Phase one will be to develop 55 acres, which will include a 25-acre area for manufacturing wind power components. Phase 2 will develop 150 acres to expand the operation and include facilities that can handle massive turbines.

Wind turbine components, for example, can run 500 feet tall. When fully built-out on the ocean, they can run 850 feet tall. So ports are needed with wharfs that can accommodate up to 800 tons. Most existing port infrastructure along the East Coast is unable to accommodate this work, according to the statement.

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) is leading development and is considering public, private, and public-private partnership financing options.

“The New Jersey Wind Port will be an incredible project that benefits the entire state, but it will be particularly important for South Jersey,” Senate President Steve Sweeney said in a statement.

The New Jersey Wind Port will be in Lower Alloways Creek Township, on an artificial island on the Delaware River, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean. The land is owned by PSE&G and is next to the utility company’s Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Station.

“This is a big win for clean offshore wind and New Jersey," said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

And Jane Asselta, vice president of the Southern New Jersey Development Council, representing more than 300 businesses and organizations, said her group overwhelming supports the project.

“We applaud Gov. Murphy and his N.J. EDA team on the announcement to base New Jersey’s Offshore Wind Farm Manufacturing in Salem County, cementing South Jersey’s future in offshore wind manufacturing and the supply chain and workforce development that supports it,” Asselta said.

She said the port will also attract developers, and manufacturers that will want to be located nearby, poising South Jersey to become “an epicenter for offshore wind capital investment."