Thousands of new jobs could be coming to the Jersey Shore, if the Garden State can get its offshore wind industry off the ground.
New Jersey stands to gain 4,313 jobs and $702 million worth of economic benefits from building an offshore wind farm, according to a report recently by E2 , a nonpartisan group that advocates for clean energy and other environmentally friendly policies. The potential benefits are based on the hypothetical construction of an "average-sized" offshore wind farm: One that produces about 350 megawatts of energy.
Once the construction is completed, the wind farm would be expected to create 169 long-term jobs and bring $31 million in economic benefits to New Jersey.
To put it more simply, the report projects that for every dollar spent in building an offshore wind farm off the Jersey Shore, $1.83 is generated in the state's economy.
Offshore wind development is seen as a key part in Gov. Phil Murphy's goal to have New Jersey get 50 percent of it's energy from renewable sources by 2030, and totally weened off of fossil fuels by 2050.
The promise of increased offshore wind development, as well as more solar power development, helped a controversial bailout of New Jersey's nuclear power plantspass through Trenton this spring.
Progress on offshore wind development has come at a rapid pace under Murphy, compared to the Christie administration. In January, shortly after taking office, Murphy signed an executive order jumpstart a subsidy program for offshore wind development that had languished under Christie.
In April, Danish offshore wind firm Orsted announced that it would open a New Jersey headquarters in Atlantic City to oversee development of its Ocean Wind project. The Ocean Wind farm is projected to generate 1,950 megawatts of energy.
A second proposed project off of Atlantic City, to be operated by US Wind , is projected to generate 1,500 megawatts of energy, enough to power 640,000 homes.
The report also examines the risk of offshore drilling off of the Jersey Shore, a possibility that has been raised by President Donald Trump's administration.
According to the findings, a one-month beach and fishing closure because of an oil spill would cost New Jersey $163 million in lost wages and $307 million in gross domestic product (GDP.)