Ocean floor surveying is underway off the southern New Jersey coast as part of a major offshore wind project, officials say.
The geophysical surveying off the coast of Atlantic and Cape May counties is the first phase of the “Ocean Wind Project” situated 15 miles east of Atlantic City proposed by the Danish energy firm Ørsted.
The 170-foot vessel R/V Enterprise will be operating 24 hours a day, weather permitting, for about two months, a notice issued to mariners by the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife advises.
According to the organization Sea Grant, geophysical surveys are conducted to assess sea floor conditions and determine whether any areas require preservation, guiding the design and development of wind farms.
Ørsted launched the world’s first offshore wind farm in 1991 and owns and operates the U.S. firm’s offshore wind farms near Block Island, Rhode Island.
The firm submitted a proposal to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities late last month in response to the nation’s largest single-state solicitation of offshore wind projects announced in last September.
Equinor and Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind have also submitted bids.
A statement from Ørsted says the Ocean Wind Project will create up to 1,000 jobs during the two- to three-year construction cycle and an additional 100 permanent jobs.
Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration has set a goal of 3,500 megawatt offshore wind generation by 2030, or enough the power more than 1.5 million homes. The governor seeks to have a 100-percent clean energy state by 2050.