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Orsted’s Ambitious Offshore Wind Farm in New Jersey Faces Setbacks

In a recent announcement, global wind energy developer Ørsted has shared that its highly-anticipated offshore wind farm off the coast of New Jersey will encounter delays, pushing its completion date to 2026. This decision comes as a result of multiple challenges, including supply chain disruptions and financial hurdles.

Based in Fredericia, Denmark, Ørsted had ambitious plans for offshore wind farms along the Eastern U.S. seaboard, with projects spanning Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. However, during an earnings call, the Danish energy giant revealed that unforeseen obstacles could force them to reevaluate their investments, potentially leading to write-offs of around $2.3 billion in U.S. projects, which have fallen short of initial profit projections.

One of the primary factors contributing to the delay is the persistent issue of supply chain disruptions. These disruptions have plagued various industries worldwide, and the renewable energy sector is no exception. Higher interest rates and difficulties in securing sufficient tax credits from the federal government have also played a significant role in hindering progress.

Additionally, Ørsted has contemplated abandoning the Ocean Wind I project, originally intended to be located off the southern New Jersey coast. While the project received clearance from the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in July, further approvals at both the federal and state levels are pending. The company remains optimistic, anticipating these approvals to be granted by the second quarter of 2024, with construction slated to commence in the fall. Once completed, the wind farm, boasting nearly 100 wind turbines, aims to generate enough electricity to power 500,000 homes.

Ørsted’s plans also encompass a second wind farm, Ocean Wind II, off the coast of New Jersey. However, this project is still in the early stages of the regulatory process, with progress lagging behind Ocean Wind I.

Despite the setbacks, Ørsted remains committed to its vision, believing that these renewable energy projects will prove profitable in the long run. According to David Hardy, an executive vice president and CEO of the company’s North American operations, “As it stands today, we believe the best direction is to continue to invest in these projects. It still is the better choice than walking away today.”

Initially slated for completion in 2025, the project’s timeline has now shifted to 2026, causing some disappointment among potential customers eagerly awaiting clean energy solutions.

During the earnings call, Ørsted also disclosed plans to “reconfigure” Ocean Wind II and its Skipjack Wind project off the coasts of Maryland and Delaware. However, specific details regarding these adjustments were not provided, leaving room for speculation.

It’s worth noting that the Sunrise Wind project off Montauk Point in New York and the Revolution Wind project off Rhode Island have encountered similar challenges as Ocean Wind I but have managed to stay on schedule.

Ørsted has already invested a substantial $4 billion in its U.S. wind energy portfolio, a significant factor contributing to its determination to persevere with its proposed projects. A “final investment decision” regarding the future of these projects, including the one in New Jersey, is expected to be reached by the end of this year or early next year.

In the face of adversity, Ørsted’s commitment to renewable energy remains unwavering, as it seeks to navigate the challenges and continue its mission to harness the power of wind for a sustainable future.

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