New Jersey jockeys forward for first US Atlantic wind substation jacket yard with Blackstone deal

The US Atlantic seaboard’s first dedicated offshore wind substation jacket fabrication yard is set to be built in the state of New Jersey following a deal between Blackstone Infrastructure-owned Atlantic Power Transmission (APT) and Morrison Energy.

The investment, which was not given a dollar-value beyond that it “built on” APT’s previously announced $50m spending plans in the state, is to be triggered by the award to bids to provide transmission for 3.75GW of offshore wind power to the existing electrical grid, as called for in the latest solicitation by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) and PJM Interconnection .

“The combined collective expertise of APT, Morrison and Blackstone collaborating on this landmark initiative underscores APT’s long-standing commitment to investing in New Jersey’s workforce and kicks off an exciting chapter in the East Coast’s clean energy transition,” said APT CEO Andy Geissbuehler.

The landmark facility, to be built in one of “various waterfront sites” is now being studied including the “very prestigious and well suited” NJ Wind Port, is set to start with the fabrication of a first trio of steel jackets for the giant 1.2GW substations that APT aims to install as part of the gigascale wave of offshore wind farms now moving ahead off the state.

We are planning to build 5,000-tonne jacket foundations [in line with] our three 1.2GW planned transmission proposals to the state of New Jersey,” Geissbuehler told Recharge.

“However, launching jacket fabrication on the US east coast will have a significant industry-building impact going beyond this first project. It is our objective to support New Jersey in developing a strong offshore wind industrial base.”

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Morrison CEO Chet Morrison said: “Morrison is committed to the development of offshore wind energy in the US by supporting APT’s partnership in developing New Jersey’s union workforce with skilled workers who can propel the [state’s] wind energy sector forward for contracts to come.”

Morrison highlighted the deal would be supported by “a dedicated presence” in New Jersey, with a focus trained on workforce development investment. “Union workers will receive training in a unique skill set. The fabrication facilities will bring hundreds of jobs to New Jersey and will lay the foundation for future projects in the state,” he said.

“The commitment contributions to the creation of a workforce hub for the burgeoning offshore wind industry in the northeastern region and the state, addressing one of the recommendations outlined by the New Jersey Offshore Wind Strategic Plan,” said the two companies, in a statement.

APT are collaborating with the New Jersey Union Coalition – including the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters (EASRCC), International Union of Operating Engineers, Iron Workers Union and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers – on the construction project and said it would “continue to further expand the existing partnership… with labor”.

“The EAS Carpenters are encouraged by how APT and Morrison have seized this opportunity and are focused on plans to train and prepare New Jersey’s highly skilled tradesmen and women for future industries in our state,” said EASRCC executive secretary-treasurer William Sproule.

“The additional relationship of the EAS Carpenters with preferred partners APT and Blackstone will bring the opportunity to New Jersey skilled tradesmen and women for years to come.”

Last December, APT announced its bid to develop a clean power transmission grid – in response to the 2021 New Jersey Offshore Wind SAA Transmission Solicitation Initiated by the NJBPU – that is expected to create $1.5bn in economic benefit to the state, along with 1,000 direct jobs annually during five construction years.

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