Updated Nov 1, 2023 - Energy & Environment

Ørsted halts New Jersey wind power projects in blow for Biden's energy plans

Photo: Remy Gabalda/AFP via Getty Images

Ørsted announced Tuesday it will cease work on two U.S. offshore wind projects in New Jersey.

Why it matters: The world's largest wind energy developer halting these projects, Ocean Wind 1 and 2, is a blow to President Biden's clean energy drive to cut emissions, which includes the goal of reaching 30 gigawatts of offshore wind-generating capacity in U.S. waters by 2030.

  • It's also a setback for New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy's (D) plans for the state to be 100% clean energy by 2035 and N.J. Democrats trying to hold onto majorities in the Legislature as wind power becomes a flashpoint in the Nov. 7 elections.

Driving the news: "Macroeconomic factors have changed dramatically over a short period of time, with high inflation, rising interest rates, and supply chain bottlenecks impacting our long-term capital investments," said David Hardy, Ørsted's Americas CEO.

  • "As a result, we have no choice but to cease development of Ocean Wind 1 and Ocean Wind 2."

What they're saying: White House spokesperson Michael Kikukawa tells Axios in an emailed statement that "momentum remains on the side of an expanding U.S. offshore wind industry," citing nearly $8 billion in offshore wind investments since Biden signed his signature Inflation Reduction Act.

  • "From day one, the Biden-Harris Administration has used every available tool to advance the growing American offshore wind industry, and we are seeing the results," he adds.

Thought bubble, via Axios' Ben Geman: This is perhaps the starkest evidence yet of economic hurdles undercutting White House hopes for a major U.S. offshore wind buildout.

  • The tech has potential to play a role cutting U.S. emissions, but a combination of interest rates, inflation, supply chain challenges and more are slowing offshore wind down even as several projects move forward.

Of note: Ørsted will proceed with its Revolution Wind project in Connecticut and Rhode Island, per a company statement.

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