The Danish energy company Ørsted announced Tuesday that it would pull out of the billion-dollar project to build wind turbines off the New Jersey coast, a week before an election in which offshore wind has been a controversial political topic.
The company will cease development of the Ocean Wind 1 and 2 projects, which were supposed to be built off the coast of Atlantic City, according to a press release. These offshore wind projects have been a cornerstone of Gov. Phil Murphy’s energy plan, but they have come under scrutiny as Republicans have launched attacks over the company’s request for more state aid and promoted unfounded claims that projects like this are causing whale deaths.
The decision was “part of an ongoing review of Ørsted’s U.S. offshore wind portfolio,” the release said.
The sudden news comes just weeks after Ørsted put up a $100 million guarantee to build the state’s first offshore wind farm and received additional state aid this summer after it was narrowly approved through a 21-14 vote in the state Senate and 46-30 in the Assembly.
Murphy called the Ørsted decision “outrageous” and questioned the company’s “credibility and competence,” in a statement released by the governor’s office Tuesday night.
“In recognition of the challenges inherent in large and complex projects, my Administration in partnership with legislative leadership insisted upon important protections that ensure New Jersey will receive $300 million to support the offshore wind sector should Ørsted’s New Jersey projects fail to proceed,” Murphy said in a press release. “I have directed my Administration to review all legal rights and remedies and to take all necessary steps to ensure that Ørsted fully and immediately honors its obligations.”
Ørsted, headquartered in Fredericia, Denmark, was contracted to build two 1,100-megawatt wind farms off New Jersey’s southeastern coast.
Reuters reported this week that the world’s largest offshore wind developer was expected to reduce stateside projects “due to supply chain problems, soaring interest rates and a lack of new tax credits.”
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The decision to stop development in New Jersey is a “consequence of additional supplier delays further impacting the project schedule and leading to an additional significant project delay,” the company’s release said.
The company also said it “updated its view on certain assumptions, including tax credit monetization and the timing and likelihood of final construction permits” and that “increases to long-dated U.S. interest rates have further deteriorated the business case.”
Work was originally slated to start in 2025 but was already delayed to 2026.