Senate President Stephen Sweeney
Deputy Speaker John Burzichelli
Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro

By Star-Ledger Guest Columnist

By Steve Sweeney, John J. Burzichelli and Adam J. Taliaferro

Within the next three years, dozens of 800-foot-tall Ocean Wind turbines located 15 miles off the coast of Atlantic City will be generating 1,100 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 500,000 homes. Construction will be underway on an even larger Atlantic Shores wind farm off Long Beach Island, whose 1,510 megawatts will serve another 700,000 homes.

Wind blowing across the Atlantic will turn the turbines, but the thousands of jobs building the 5 million pound steel monopile foundations, assembling the sections of the massive wind towers, turbines and blades, and shipping them out to sea will flow through Gloucester and Salem counties.

South Jersey will be the epicenter of the offshore wind industry not just for wind farms off the Jersey Shore, but for the entire Atlantic Seaboard from Maine to North Carolina.

It didn’t happen by accident.

This is a vision that has been more than a decade in the making, going back to the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act enacted under our leadership in 2010 that put New Jersey in the forefront of what was then a newly emerging industry.

Today, that vision is becoming a reality and bringing jobs and economic development with it.

First, we put the final beam in place this summer on the first of six large buildings at the Paulsboro Marine Terminal in Gloucester County, where EEW Group, a German steel pipe manufacturer, and Ørsted, the Danish wind energy company, will build the massive steel plate monopiles that serve as the foundations for the offshore wind towers, turbines and blades. Each monopile will be 400 feet tall, 40 feet in diameter, and can weigh up to 5 million pounds; 500 million pounds of steel will be coming into the Paulsboro port each year to build them.

The $300 million the companies are putting in represents the largest private investment in the offshore wind industry in the United States, and it will create 500 high-paying union jobs in New Jersey when it is fully up and running.

Second, last month was the ground-breaking for the New Jersey Wind Port on 200 acres adjoining PSE&G’s nuclear power plants in Lower Alloways Creek in Salem County, where workers will marshal and assemble the giant tower sections, turbines and blades to be shipped out to sea. This state-financed project, which is projected to cost $300 million to $400 million, will generate 1,500 good-paying union jobs and $500 million in annual economic activity, according to the state Economic Development Authority, which is managing the project.

Hundreds of construction jobs will be created to build the EEW/Ørsted manufacturing plant and the New Jersey Wind Port, and company officials project that thousands of ancillary jobs will be generated through economic spinoff.

The Wind Port will be the nation’s first onshore site built with the purpose of servicing an offshore wind industry.

Nationwide, that industry is projected to employ up to 83,000 workers and generate electricity to power 17 million homes by 2035 as a critical component of President Biden’s plan to reduce the impact of climate change by increasing our production of green energy.

We were able to bring manufacturing to the Paulsboro Marine Terminal because we had already made critical infrastructure investments to modernize and expand our port facilities on the New Jersey side of the Delaware, and we made sure that Ørsted would keep its commitment to create manufacturing jobs here in New Jersey.

The monopiles manufactured at the EEW/Ørsted facility will be longer than a football field, and we will be able to load them directly onto barges for shipping to offshore wind farm sites up and down the East Coast.

Lower Alloways Creek was the perfect site for the wind port because it is located on Delaware Bay below all of the Delaware River bridges. This is important because the assembled towers and turbines are too large to pass under bridges, and few port sites on the Atlantic Seaboard met that requirement.

The New Jersey Wind Port represents the largest economic investment in Salem County since the PSE&G nuclear plants were built, and it will be a game-changer for the county’s job growth and economic development. Construction by AECOM Tishman is slated to begin before the end of the year.

Together, the New Jersey Wind Port and the Paulsboro manufacturing facility represent the largest investment in the offshore wind industry in the United States. They will create permanent, high-paying jobs manufacturing monopiles and assembling wind turbines that will require technical skills, but most will not require a college degree.

This is an investment in cutting-edge technology, in green energy and in an industry that will increase in importance as the devastating impact of climate change on people’s lives becomes more and more apparent.

The unprecedented tornado that tore through people’s homes in Mullica Hill, the torrential rainfall that took 30 lives and flooded so many New Jersey towns, the pounding the Jersey Shore takes from fiercer and more frequent hurricanes, and the sea level rise that threatens to turn the Delaware into a tidal river all the way up to Trenton make it clear that we must do everything we can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and battle climate change.

We can be proud that workers in Gloucester and Salem counties will have such an important role to play in that battle.

Senate President Steve Sweeney, Deputy Assembly Speaker John J. Burzichelli and Assemblyman Adam J. Taliaferro represent the 3rd Legislative District, in which the Paulsboro and Lower Alloways Creek facilities are located.

District Offices

Gloucester County

Kingsway Commons
935 Kings Highway, Suite 400
West Deptford, NJ 08086
Phone: (856) 251-9801
Fax: (856) 251-9752

Salem/Cumberland Counties

The Finlaw Building
199 East Broadway, Suite G
Salem, NJ 08079
Phone: (856) 339-0808 or
             (856) 455-1011
Fax: (856) 339-9626