Google-Backed Offshore Wind Line to Start in New Jersey

A Google Inc.-backed undersea power line that will connect offshore wind farms to the U.S. eastern seaboard will begin construction in 2016 with its first segment off the New Jersey coast.

The first phase of the Atlantic Wind Connection will span the length of New Jersey and carry 3,000 megawatts of electricity, the Princeton, New Jersey-based project said today in a statement. The offshore cable is expected to be operational in 2019.

There are no offshore wind farms currently operating in the U.S. New Jersey has yet to put any rules in place for potential offshore wind development, according to a statement today from the New Jersey Sierra Club, an environmental advocacy group. Without offshore windmills, the undersea power line may be used in the future to transport coal-generated electricity, Jeff Tittel, a director of the New Jersey Sierra Club said in the statement.

The link “can make the grid more reliable and lower the cost of energy in New Jersey by delivering both offshore wind and conventional electricity to where it is needed and when it is needed along the coast,” Atlantic Wind Connection Chief Executive Officer Robert Mitchell said in the statement.

The project is also sponsored by Marubeni Corp., Bregal Energy Inc. and Elia System Operator SA. It aims to reduce the cost of offshore wind power by creating a transmission line to which future offshore wind farms can connect. The line is also expected to reduce congestion and lower the cost of moving power on the land-based grid.

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