After years of talking about developing offshore wind farms, New Jersey is finally moving forward.

The state Board of Public Utilities has been fast-tracking a plan to build giant turbines out in the Atlantic Ocean off the Jersey Shore after Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order a few months ago that calls on the Garden State to generate 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind by the year 2030.

That would power more than 1.5 million homes in New Jersey.

Once the initial plan has been completed, the project will need to pass muster with several federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency and the U. S. Coast Guard, as well as the national Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

According to Doug O’Malley, of Environment New Jersey, we now have the most ambitious offshore wind plan in the nation.

“We have some of the best wind right off the Jersey Shore and we’ve just been lacking the state policy to be able to take advantage of it for years. Now that’s changing.”

O’Malley says offshore wind is the critical component that will allow the Garden State to hit its clean renewable energy goals.

“We need offshore wind to be robust. And if we’re going to be hitting our renewable energy goals in 2030 and 2025, we need offshore wind to happen sooner rather than later," he said.

“There’s a lot of power through ocean winds and we don’t have to truck it in through the Midwest. This is power that’s waiting to be harnessed.”

Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo, D-Atlantic, who has been a Legislative advocate for wind power, says with this effort moving forward we may be able to get a wind turbine manufacturing company set up shop in the state.

“This provides good jobs, construction jobs, and it makes sense for the long term," he said.

He stressed wind power will play an important role in Jersey’s energy future.

“With your finances, you diverse your portfolio — and it’s also a good idea to do that in your energy usage.”

O’Malley pointed out there’s a record of accomplishment involving wind power in Europe, where it’s been very successful. So now is the time for New Jersey to move forward.

RES Americas and US Wind Inc. have secured the rights to build wind farms on more than 300,000 acres of seafloor. Another company, Orsted, could also construct a wind farm as off the Jersey coastline.

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You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com