N.J. Approves Huge Offshore Wind Farms in Green Power Push

New Jersey regulators approved two massive wind farms in the Atlantic Ocean that together will power more than 1 million homes, calling it an unprecedented step toward its climate goals.

The Board of Public Utilities awarded a combined 2.7 gigawatts of capacity to Orsted’s Ocean Wind II project and the Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind project backed by Electricite de France SA and Royal Dutch Shell PLC, according to a statement Wednesday. The agency called it the biggest-ever combined offshore wind power award in the U.S.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has set a goal to build 7.5 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2035 to fight climate change. President Joe Biden wants the U.S. to build 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030.

The global push for clean power and the effort to avoid the worst effects of climate change leans in part on offshore wind power, which is far more developed in Europe than in the U.S.

Orsted A/S, the biggest developer of offshore wind farms, didn’t win an offshore auction in New York earlier this year. That concerned some investors that the Danish company would continue losing to major rivals and other developers, said Deepa Venkateswaran, a renewables analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co LLC.

“This shows that they can compete and there’s enough room for both players like Orsted and the big oil companies,” she said, adding that the wind farms are likely to start producing power in 2027 and 2028.

Orsted has no problem going up against the oil majors in offshore auctions, said David Hardy, Orsted’s chief executive for offshore wind in the U.S.

“We can be competitive with the oil and gas guys. I’m not worried about them,” he said. “We have the most experience and know-how, and when we want to win a project, we can win a project.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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