New Jersey received a proposal to supply up to 2.3GW of offshore wind capacity from the Shell-EDF Atlantic Shores joint venture, a record amount in any single US state solicitation, and another from industry pacesetter Orsted.

Atlantic Shores was the first developer to confirm its participation in New Jersey's second procurement round for 1.2-2.4GW that closed on Thursday. Orsted last year won the first solicitation for 1.1GW.

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) staff will now review the bids with consultant Levitan and Associates and anticipates awarding the winning project or projects in June 2021.

"As New Jersey continues to move forward as a national offshore wind leader, we look forward to welcoming a diverse group into this new industry. Expanding our offshore wind industry not only reinforces our commitment to achieving 100% clean energy by 2050," said Governor Phil Murphy.

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New Jersey has set a 7.5GW offshore wind goal by 2035 – second only to New York’s 9GW target by the same date – which is central to its ambitions for 100% renewable power supply 2050. New York is expected to announce winning bids soon for its 2.5GW round that closed 20 October.

Atlantic Shores said its first US project would be completed as early as 2027. Its bid included several size arrays but the developer did not immediately provide details for the smaller capacity alternatives.

The array would be built in a 2.5GW capacity lease area in federal waters located 16-32 k m (10-20 miles) off the state's southeastern coast.

The bid includes a commitment to stage the project at New Jersey’s planned $300m purpose-built offshore wind port along the Delaware River, the country’s first, whose initial operational phase is targeted for as early as 2023.

If its project is selected, the construction and operations phases will create hundreds of well-paying jobs and further expand supply chain offerings in the state, according to Atlantic Shores.

The developer also pledged up to $19m in investments for the state’s future offshore wind workforce and training capabilities that include scholarships for first-generation, low-income students.

Atlantic Shores will also provide financial support to enhance environmental health near its 2.5GW lease area and for development of a 5-10MW green hydrogen pilot project to "improve the understanding and expertise on how green hydrogen can support the decarbonization of large industrial sectors."

“Our project, backed by the technical, operational, and development expertise of our team and the financial backing of global energy parent companies, is well positioned to serve New Jersey ratepayers best,” said Jennifer Daniels, development director at Atlantic Shores.

Orsted proposal

In a statement, Orsted did not specify how much offshore wind capacity it is proposing to supply from its Ocean 2 project that would be located in its 3.5GW lease area adjacent to and south of Atlantic Shores' zone.

Orsted and 50-50 joint venture partner PSEG, the state's dominant electric utility, hold a lease in a 1GW zone facing northern Delaware that is also close to southern New Jersey.

In its bid, Orsted committed to using New Jersey's offshore wind port to stage its project and to help attract suppliers to establish operations there. It also pledged "significant investments into New Jersey's offshore wind manufacturing capabilities. These investments will help unlock the state's potential in serving as a manufacturing hub for the American offshore wind industry."

The developer said Ocean Wind 2 also includes innovative research, grants and workforce training programmes that will incorporate environmental justice initiatives to "assist the state's overburdened communities."

There is also a pledge to expand operations and maintenance footprint with more long-term good paying jobs in the state.

New Jersey recently became the first state to formally ask regional grid operator PJM to embed its offshore wind goal into transmission planning, in what was hailed as a statement of leadership by the US industry whose fast growth poses future power delivery challenges.

The US offshore wind industry is set to power up over the coming decade led by the 800MW Vineyard Wind, but has been beset by issues ranging from frictions with the regional fisheries sector to the slow-rolling federal leasing process.

President-elect Joe Biden, who takes office 20 January, has pledged his administration will support aggressive sector expansion, targeting installation of "thousands of turbines" at sea during his initial four-year term.