Con Ed proposes network to bring offshore wind power onshore

Con Edison, the New York utility company, is planning to build an electric transmission facility off the coast of New Jersey to connect multiple offshore wind projects and bring the power ashore.

The company on Monday proposed “Clean Link New Jersey,” a transmission network into which numerous turbine-powered wind farms can plug. It would carry the electricity along New Jersey’s coast, coming ashore at two power substations in locations yet to be determined in central or northern New Jersey.

Con Edison Transmission Inc. plans to connect 2.4 gigawatts of future offshore wind capacity to the grid’s high-voltage onshore system, which it said is enough to power about 1 million homes. The project would install multiple underwater transmission cables through a defined “power corridor,” to minimize the environmental impact.

The offshore network would allow offshore wind projects to plug in as they become ready to generate power.

“Clean Link New Jersey will advance the Garden State’s clean energy future, providing reliable energy delivery of offshore wind generation,” said Stuart Nachmias, president and CEO of Con Edison Transmission. “Our proposed project will provide good-paying jobs and economic opportunity, preserve the beauty of the Jersey shoreline, and minimize disruption to New Jerseyans while helping achieve the state’s clean energy goals.”

Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey, said projects like this get comparatively little attention, but are just as crucial as turbines to the success of offshore wind.

“Offshore wind turbines only work if there’s a way to connect their clean energy to the onshore electric grid,” he said. “Offshore wind interconnection is as critical as the construction of turbines off the Jersey Shore, and it’s paramount that New Jersey looks to review projects that maximize transmission of clean energy and minimize environmental impacts.”

The project comes as New Jersey moves rapidly to establish itself as the East Coast leader in offshore wind energy.

Thus far, New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities has approved three offshore wind energy projects: two by Danish wind developer Orsted, and one by Atlantic Shores, a joint venture between EDF Renewables North America and Shell New Energies US.

Those three projects combined aim to provide enough electricity to power over 1.6 million homes. New Jersey has set a goal of generating 100% of its energy from clean sources by 2050, and plans to solicit additional wind energy projects every two years until at least 2028.

Atlantic Shores is also planning a second New Jersey project that it has not publicly announced, but that is referenced in documents filed with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Con Edison’s proposal is not the first project envisioned to bring offshore wind onto land in New Jersey. A Massachusetts company plans to build a high-voltage line to bring electricity from a future New Jersey offshore wind farm onto land, and connect it to the power grid. Anbaric, of Wakefield, Massachusetts, has already obtained several permits from New Jersey environmental regulators for what it calls its Boardwalk Power Link project.

Con Edison submitted the project in September to PJM, the regional transmission organization that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in 13 states and Washington, D.C. The application will be evaluated by PJM and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.

Con Edison primarily serves New York City and Westchester County, but it does have some operations in northern New Jersey through a subsidiary, Orange and Rockland Utilities.


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