New Jersey coal plant to be repurposed as clean energy hub

A renewable energy developer has acquired the site of a retired New Jersey coal-fired power plant in hopes of converting it into an interconnection hub for offshore wind turbine energy delivered to onshore customers.

Rise Light & Power has announced plans to build a project called the Outerbridge Renewable Connector in South Amboy, N.J. Once operational, Outerbridge would receive the electricity generated by offshore wind turbines via underground cables, then deliver that to the Deans Substation for movement onto the grid.

A wholly-owned subsidiary of the LS Power Group, Rise Light & Power will locate the proposed clean energy hub where the onetime E.H. Werner coal-fired power station generated electricity. Jersey Central Power & Light operated the Werner plant until its retirement six years ago.

“Rise Light & Power is committed to helping New Jersey achieve its ambitious clean energy goals,” said Clint Plummer, CEO of Rise Light & Power. “The state’s bold vision calls for a responsible, affordable solution to delivering offshore wind energy to the state electric grid. Outerbridge solves the challenge of finding appropriate and acceptable cable landing sites by using existing infrastructure that avoids siting transmission lines in sensitive areas like residential neighborhoods and recreational beaches.”

The Werner site on Raritan Bay features an existing substation and switchyard, rail and highway access, a pier with expansion potential and unobstructed access to the Atlantic Ocean with 24 acres of submerged lands.

The Outerbridge Renewable Connector is the only project in our state that can deliver clean offshore wind to our residents without the controversy of disturbing beaches and communities,” South Amboy Mayor Fred Henry said in a statement.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has stated a goal of his state getting to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. The state is committing to investing more than $150 billion to produce 7,500 MW of offshore wind power capacity by 2035.

New Jersey-based utility Public Service Enterprise Group recently signed a multi-decade lease for another coastal site which is also planned as a major manufacturing and assembly port to support the offshore wind industry. It would be home to the New Jersey Wind Port, providing a site for staging, assembly and manufacturing work related to offshore wind development along the East Coast.

PSEG broke ground on the site along the Delaware River last week. The New Jersey Wind Port construction is expected to be completed sometime in 2023.

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