The White House on Thursday announced a new federal-state partnership to develop offshore wind, and New Jersey will be in the middle of it.
Gov. Phil Murphy joined a meeting at the White House Thursday that launched the Federal-State Offshore Wind Implementation Partnership.
“The offshore opportunity is enormous,” he said afterwards.
New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and eight other states will be involved in efforts to work together and with federal officials to help workers address
issues such as building and connecting transmission lines, and working to make sure the development doesn’t hurt other industries that rely on the oceans, such as fishing.
“If you didn’t have the federal government and the Biden administration playing an active role, you could run the risk of sort of a patchwork,” Murphy told NJ Advance Media after the meeting. “The federal government, the Biden administration, the president himself is so invested in this and also in coordinating. That’s just going to make this industry stronger, bigger and all of that faster.”
Murphy and Delaware Gov. John Carney were there in person, with the other governors or their aides joining remotely. Also participating were President Joe Biden, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, six other administration officials, five wind industry executives, and eight union leaders.
The meeting originally wasn’t on Biden’s schedule, but Murphy said the president was there for most of it.
Biden told the participants that offshore wind development would mean more good-paying work for Americans.
“When I think ‘climate,’ when I think ‘environment,’ I think ‘jobs,’ ” Biden said. “And these are good-paying jobs, and they’re making a big, big difference.”
The turbines are being built far enough from land that there’s always wind to turn the blades, Biden said.
“The wind that far out in the ocean is always blowing,” he said. “And it can produce as much energy as a coal mine, as much energy as an oil well. And it’s clean, and it’s real, and it’s continuous.”
New Jersey is more than halfway toward meeting its goal of producing 7,500 megawatts from wind, Murphy said. Ocean Wind, a wind farm about 15 miles southeast of Atlantic City, is scheduled to become operational in 2024.
And six companies bid $4.4 billion to develop wind farms acres off the coasts of New Jersey and New York in an area called the New York Bight. That sale brought in more money than any other energy leases ever, including those for oil and gas, federal officials have said.
Murphy didn’t rule out creating even more wind-powered electricity. “That’s something I’m very much open to,” he said.
“It is huge job spinner, union job spinner, and, as we discussed in the meeting, it’s a national security matter,” Murphy said. “We’re developing the energy here and not having to rely on dictators and despots around the world, and we’ve seen obviously in the past number of months what that looks like.”
Murphy’s wind plans have run into some opposition, however.
Bob Stern, a former U.S. Energy Department official and president of Save Long Beach Island, which is suing to block one wind development, said there are plenty of locations to build turbines that don’t affect shore communities.
“There are common sense ways to pursue an offshore wind program,” Stern said.
Jonathan D. Salant, NJ Advance Media, email@example.com