LS Power Grid Unveils Plans to Connect Offshore Wind Power into New Jersey’s Onshore Electrical Grid
LS Power Grid, a leading electric transmission company, today presented its plans to bring power generated from New Jersey offshore wind farms into the state’s onshore electrical grid. Responding to the state’s request for proposals on this initiative, the company’s plans – which are at least $1 billion less expensive than competing proposals – were shared publicly today for the first time during a meeting hosted by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU).
- NJ-Based Company’s Proposals are at least $1 Billion Less Than Competitors
- Superior Technology, Planning Will Strengthen NJ’s Aging Electrical Grid
- Significant Benefits for State Economy, Local Labor and Local Communities
- Environmentally Sensitive Planning Will Protect Ocean, Beaches, Communities
- Exceptional Track Record on Delivering Major Energy Projects On Time, On Budget
“How we transport energy is just as important as how we generate it,” said Lawrence Willick, executive vice president of New Jersey-based LS Power, parent of LS Power Grid. “As such, we’re pleased to present our proposals, which offer the best value, quality and technology to support New Jersey’s ambitious clean energy goals, while protecting the environment, adding essential resiliency and reliability to the state’s aging energy infrastructure, and providing essential benefits to the state’s economy, local labor and our local communities.”
LS Power Grid’s proposals, which the company collectively calls “Clean Energy Gateway,” include multiple alternatives and options designed to integrate offshore wind power into the state’s electrical grid. The company’s proposals:
- use alternating current (AC) technology and extend the AC grid into the Atlantic, which will integrate offshore wind power in the most economic manner, while enhancing the resiliency and reliability of the state’s aging energy infrastructure;
- route subsea cables through consolidated corridors to minimize ocean environmental impact, and route on-land cables through existing corridors and rights-of-way to minimize impact on communities;
- utilize an existing shoreline landing point, where other subsea cables are already buried, and utilize advanced horizontal directional drilling technology that will place cables at least 25 feet below the shoreline, protecting New Jersey beaches;
- include firm cost containment commitments in keeping with the company’s exceptional track record for delivering major energy projects both on time and on budget; and
- will provide significant benefits for the state’s economy, local labor and our local communities.
“Based on our reviews, we estimate that the costs associated with our proposals are between 20 and 50 percent less than competing proposals, which will amount to at least $1 billion in savings to the state, if not more,” said Paul Thessen, president of LS Power Grid. “Our approach of extending the AC grid to near the shore and into the ocean will allow New Jersey to take advantage of its proximity to designated offshore wind areas and avoid costly direct current (DC) connections. Those new DC connections and terminals, as recommended in competing proposals, will require billions of additional dollars in expenses, which are simply not necessary.”
Offshore Wind Energy in New Jersey
The New Jersey Offshore Wind Economic Development Act of 2010 mandated that a percentage of electrical power sold in the state be generated by offshore wind. In recent years, New Jersey has established ambitious clean energy goals that call for securing 50 percent of the state’s energy from renewable sources by 2030, and 100 percent by 2050. The state’s plans include an offshore wind generation goal of 7,500 megawatts (MWs) of electricity – enough to power millions of homes across the state – by 2035.
Thus far, the state has awarded a combined 3,700 MWs of offshore wind capacity to private sector companies that will build up to four offshore wind projects off the coast of Atlantic City. The NJBPU is now evaluating proposals focused on how best to coordinate and connect all offshore wind projects into the onshore electrical grid. The evaluation is being done in coordination with PJM Interconnection LLC, the nation’s largest electrical grid operator, which coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of 13 states, including New Jersey.
According to the NJBPU, offshore wind projects slated for New Jersey will generate billions of dollars in economic benefits, create thousands of full- and part-time jobs and help the state move toward its clean energy goals.
Expertise, Experience and Commitment to Cost Containment
As the NJBPU and PJM Interconnection evaluate proposals for the coordinated transmission of offshore power from wind turbines in the ocean to the shoreline and then into the onshore electrical grid, multiple factors will be taken into consideration – including but not limited to cost and cost containment of proposed plans; technical aspects to ensure reliability and resiliency in power transmission and systems, and how plans enhance the existing electric grid and energy infrastructure; environmental and ocean impacts; recommended landing points for subsea cables; and proposed routes for cables to connection points into the electrical grid.
“Our proposals are designed to support the NJBPU and PJM Interconnection in their quest to identify and secure the best possible options for the connection and delivery of offshore energy here in New Jersey,” said Thessen. “LS Power Grid has the expertise, experience and an exceptional track record for delivering major energy projects on time and on budget, while meeting the customized needs of the regions and communities we serve. In fact, all of LS Power Grid’s competitive projects to date have been completed on schedule and within cost containment commitments.”
“We’ve done this type of work, effectively and successfully, all across the country – in Texas, Nevada and Indiana, among other states – and we’ve done the same in New Jersey, too,” Willick said. “For example, our company designed, developed and delivered the Silver Run project, a complex, energy transmission system, involving 18 miles of submarine sea cable, underneath and across the Delaware River between New Jersey and Delaware – and did so on time and within the project’s cost containment cap.” That project was completed in 2020, he said.
LS Power Grid is a subsidiary of LS Power, which has been operating in New Jersey since the company began in 1990. With a vast array of energy investments, projects and assets all across the country, LS Power, based in East Brunswick, has made significant investments in energy generation and transmission infrastructure in New Jersey and operates several business units here, including Silver Run Electric, LLC and the West Deptford Power Station, a natural gas fired power plant.
“LS Power has assembled a strong team of engineering, environmental and construction contractors to provide New Jersey with proposals that minimize the risk to the state,” Thessen said. “We look forward to working with all stakeholders, including local communities, labor unions, commercial fishermen and ratepayer groups to implement these projects in the most beneficial manner.”
LS Power Grid is partnering with New Jersey-based infrastructure contractor J. Fletcher Creamer & Sons Inc., as well as local labor unions, on the Clean Energy Gateway effort. “Generating offshore wind is critically important to our future,” said Anthony Capaccio, president and business manager of Local 172 of the Construction and General Laborers’ Union. “What’s equally important is actually transporting this renewable energy to the families and businesses that need it. The LS Power project smartly invests in the transmission network we need and on behalf of our 3,500 members in New Jersey, we can’t wait to get to work.”
“Increases in electrical demand in the coming decades will create a larger need than ever for additional power,” said Tony Oliveira, business manager, Local 472, Heavy and General Construction Laborers’ Union. “In our new energy ecosystem, we need projects like the LS Power project to strengthen New Jersey’s power grid with a goal of reducing the cost of energy to homeowners and businesses, while providing cleaner alternatives to reduce the environmental impact of energy. Laborers’ Local 472 stands ready with over 7,200 skilled members to help our signatory contractors complete these projects and meet New Jersey’s Energy Master Plan.”
Additional Background: Energy Demand, Offshore Wind Energy in the U.S.
With demand for energy – oil, gas, electricity and more – increasing across the world, parts of the developed world are utilizing renewable energy sources – i.e., solar, wind, hydropower and more – like never before. The move to renewable sources of energy is also in response to growing concerns about the impact of fossil fuels on the environment (global warming, carbon emissions, etc.). As such, parts of the public and private sectors, and especially industries built on fossil fuels, have taken decisive actions – for example, like the auto industry’s move to electric vehicles.
In the U.S., the federal government, led by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), is responsible for identifying, leasing and reviewing offshore wind areas and projects located between three and 200 nautical miles from the U.S. coast. Lease areas are auctioned by BOEM to offshore wind developers, who bid for the opportunity to plan, construct and operate offshore wind projects. There are currently 23 BOEM-designated offshore wind lease areas along the East Coast, eight of which are located off New Jersey. States and other stakeholders work with developers and federal agencies to plan and approve the development of specific wind farms.
About LS Power Grid
LS Power Grid, a leading electric transmission company, is an advocate for transparent and competitive processes to plan, build and own transmission infrastructure. These processes encourage innovative solutions, facilitate the integration of renewable resources, and lower costs. For information, please visit www.LSPowerGrid.com.