Monmouth Republicans: ‘Not Surprised’ Orsted Killed Offshore Wind Plan

November 1, 2023

MIDDLETOWN, NJ — Immediately after Danish company Orsted made the surprise 3 a.m. announcement Tuesday they are canceling all plans to build offshore wind turbines off the Jersey Shore, the three Republican lawmakers who represent Middletown had just four words:

“We told you so.”

“Tonight’s announcement by Orsted is not a surprise to those who have been relentless in questioning the Governor’s overzealous ‘green’ energy mandates,” said state Senator Declan O’Scanlon, Assemblywoman Victoria Flynn and Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger, who represent the Middletown area in Trenton (Scharfenberger is the former Middletown mayor). “For those of us who simply asked reasonable questions about the long-term, practicable and financial viability of the proposed offshore projects, this is an ‘I told you so’ moment.”

As Patch was one of the first media outlets to report two years ago, Orsted was planning to build two massive wind farms off Atlantic City; the turbines would have started at about 15 miles out and they would have been visible from Atlantic City beaches on clear days. In 2021, the company released these renderings of how the turbines would look from the beach.

However, in a 3 a.m. Europe time earnings phone call Orsted led from its Copenhagen headquarters Tuesday, Orsted CEO Mads Nipper announced his company is completely abandoning Ocean Wind One and Ocean Wind Two, citing supply chain problems.

Minutes later, Gov. Phil Murphy released a furious statement, saying: “Today’s decision by Orsted to abandon its commitments to New Jersey is outrageous and calls into question the company’s credibility and competence. As recently as several weeks ago, the company made public statements regarding the viability and progress of the Ocean Wind 1 project.”

This summer, Orsted asked for millions of dollars in tax breaks to build the wind farms, which Murphy gave them.

Gov. Murphy is now even pursuing litigation against Orsted:

“My administration insisted upon important protections that ensure New Jersey will receive $300 million to support the offshore wind sector should Orsted’s New Jersey projects fail to proceed,” said Murphy Tuesday night. “I have directed my administration to review all legal rights and remedies and to take all necessary steps to ensure that Orsted fully and immediately honors its obligations.”

Republican Congressman Chris Smith, who represents the southern portion of Middletown, said he “welcomed” the news that Orsted is backing out.

“Turns out that despite huge taxpayer subsidies and credible predictions of big increases to ratepayers, Orsted has concluded they will still lose money,” said Rep. Smith Wednesday morning. “Orsted’s decision was a first step in exposing the economic unsustainability and environmental dangerousness of ocean wind turbines — each the size of the Chrysler building in New York City — and Orsted’s pulling out of the deal may help slow and eventually halt similar projects off New Jersey’s coast.”

“The wind projects backed by the Governor and Trenton Democrats never seemed to add up – financially or environmentally,” said the Middletown lawmakers. “What is a surprise is the feigned outrage by the Governor in response to Orsted’s announcement that it is abandoning these projects. It was quite obvious in June that these projects were unsustainable without substantial financial backing by taxpayer dollars. The Governor and the Democratic-led legislature knew this, and yet rammed a billion-dollar bailout bill through Trenton for Orsted without any regard for N.J. taxpayers.”

“We strongly disagree with the Governor’s position to use litigation to resurrect what is ultimately a horrific deal for our state,” they continued. “Rather than spend more N.J. taxpayer funds to make Orsted ‘honor their commitment,’ as the Governor suggested in his statement, New Jersey should instead take legislative action to prevent any further ill-conceived corporate bailouts for foreign companies immediately.”

The three Republican lawmakers are continuing to call for a moratorium for all offshore wind projects off the Jersey Shore.

Orsted’s wind farm would have been New Jersey’s first offshore wind project. However, plans are still moving forward on other wind farms off the Jersey Shore: Another Norwegian company called StatOil is working with British Petroleum (BP) to build Empire Wind 1 and 2 off Long Branch. Empire Wind 1 and 2 will be the largest wind farms to date, with 174 monopiles. 

Orsted is also still moving forward to build Revolution Wind, and another wind farm called South Fork Wind off Long Island.