Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, a 50/50 partnership between Shell New Energies US LLC and EDF Renewables North America, announced the launch of ocean survey operations today within the Atlantic Shores lease area, in order to inform future turbine development.
Survey operations encompass 183,000 acres located 8-20 miles off the New Jersey coast between Barnegat Light and Sea Isle City and are expected to conclude by the end of October, weather permitting.
The survey vessel Geosea will be utilized to characterize the seabed, collect samples and determine placement of data collection buoys, which will be deployed later this year to help measure wind, ocean and weather conditions.
The Atlantic Shores team held a tour of the 300-foot Geosea vessel to coincide with the launch, showcasing state-of-the-art capabilities aboard the ship. The event was attended by several agencies involved in offshore wind operations at the state and federal levels.
Coinciding with the launch of survey operations, Atlantic Shores also announces Kevin Wark as its Fisheries Liaison Officer to help better communicate and collaborate with the recreational and commercial fishing industries as the project progresses.
“Kevin has hands-on knowledge of the maritime community in New Jersey, where he has been a resident his entire life and a fisherman for nearly 40 years,” said Doug Copeland Development Manager of Atlantic Shores. “The trust he has developed locally will be invaluable in fostering open communication and collaboration with these industries as we plan an Atlantic Shores offshore wind farm that works best for New Jersey.”
A third-generation resident of Long Beach Island, Wark began his career operating commercial boats at the age of 17 and has worked extensively in the ocean research field for institutions such as Delaware State University and Rutgers University, including nearly a decade of sturgeon sampling. Last winter he helped consult on the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) strategic plan for offshore wind.
“The fisheries are vastly different than when I began my career, and changes in the ocean environment have become increasingly rapid over the past decade,” said Kevin Wark.
“It’s clear we need to strike a balance – for the environment, the fishing communities and renewable developers together. I understand the concerns of mariners because I share them, so I’m excited for this opportunity to listen to fishermen of all sectors, to help us collaborate and find the best solutions for all,” he added.
Atlantic Shores intends to bid into the next New Jersey offshore wind solicitation. The lease area held by Atlantic Shores has the potential to supply up to 2,500 megawatts (MW) of clean, renewable energy to New Jersey residents across the state and beyond: enough power to supply nearly one million homes.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy requested the additional solicitation, as well as another in 2022, to help meet the state’s ambitious goal of generating 3,500 MW of offshore wind energy by 2030 and moving the state to 100 percent clean energy by 2050.