Waters off New Jersey will host the first phase of the Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC), a multi-million dollar offshore electricity transmission project designed to allow offshore wind farms that are expected to be built off the US East Coast to feed their energy to shore.
New Jersey has been chosen as the location for the first phase of the AWC because of its vast offshore wind potential and the state's commitment to developing an offshore wind industry, said the developer in a statement.
The NJ Energy Link will be based around a 3GW capacity subsea transmission cable, which will be laid the length of New Jersey. Construction is expected to begin in 2016, with the first of its three sections due online in 2019.
"The NJ Energy Link can make the grid more reliable and lower the cost of energy in New Jersey by delivering both offshore wind and conventional electricity to where it is needed when it is needed along the coast," said AWC’s chief executive, Robert Mitchell.
The AWC is backed by a series of investors, including Google, Marubeni, and Belgian electricity network operator Elia. If all phases of the AWC are built, it will have a transmission capacity of up to 7GW.
Last May, AWC was confirmed as the only developer interested in constructing such a cable, and given permission by regulators to proceed with environmental impact assessment work.
According to a study by IHS Global Insight, the NJ Energy Link and an associated 3.4GW of offshore wind installed capacity off New Jersey would create up to 20,000 jobs in the state, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the USA.