In October, Little Egg Harbor was one of seven Jersey Shore communities asked to submit an application for Ocean Wind 1’s local coastal resiliency grants.
The Pro-NJ Grantor Trust received an unprecedented 17 responses, totaling almost $19 million, more than five times the amount allocated for this round. Little Egg Harbor is the only Ocean County community to make the cut, beating Stafford Township for a chance to secure funding.
“The trust’s goal is to fund at least one project in each of the counties while providing sufficient grant award to allow a project to be completed,” according to the Oct. 14 grant announcement.
The trust has set aside $3.5 million to assist with coastal infrastructure and resiliency projects that will help mitigate the impacts of severe weather events and flooding.
Little Egg Harbor Township Engineer Jason Worth said officials asked for $500,000 to fund bulkhead, drainage and road work off the Great Bay Boulevard area on some of the lower streets connecting to the bay.
The Pro-NJ Grantor Trust is a $15 million fund created by Ørsted and Ocean Wind to “ensure that the offshore wind industry in New Jersey is developed in a sustainable and inclusive way.”
Ocean Wind 1 is a joint venture between Ørsted and Public Service Enterprise Group. It is expected to be operational in 2024 and would produce enough electricity to power more than 500,000 homes. Engineering, procurement and construction contracts have already been awarded for the project.
As proposed, the scope of the project includes up to 98 wind turbine generators, up to three offshore high voltage alternating current substations, inter-array cables linking the individual turbines to the offshore substations, substation interconnector cables linking the substations to each other, offshore export cables, an onshore export cable system, two onshore substations, and connections to the existing electrical grid in New Jersey.
The wind turbine generators, offshore substation and substation interconnector cables are to be located in New Jersey’s Outer Continental Shelf, roughly 13 nautical miles (15 statute miles) southeast of Atlantic City. The offshore export cables would be buried below the seabed in the Outer Continental Shelf and state of New Jersey-owned submerged lands. The onshore export cables, substations and grid connections would be located in Ocean and Cape May counties.
“The unexpected interest in this round was a welcomed surprise to the Trust,” said Beverly McCall, chair of the Pro-NJ Grantor Trust. “While we initially had to make a tough decision to move seven projects forward to fit the $3.5 million limit, given the need shown by our coastal communities, the Trust is reviewing ways to include the other towns in the application process for this round or provide special consideration for the next coastal resiliency round.”
McCall added, “Severe weather events and flooding leaves families and businesses in coastal communities with financial burdens that place undue strains on municipal budgets. Part of the Trust’s mission is to help alleviate these fiscal burdens and help towns maintain quality of life for residents – which is why we are open to reconsidering requests that were made during this round.”
In other news, at the township’s Nov. 10 meeting, township officials introduced more than a dozen ordinances authorizing the acquisition of a temporary construction easement and permanent easement along portions of Great Bay Boulevard, East Delaware Drive, Flax Court, Silver Lake Court, South Dayton Drive, North Spinnaker Drive, North Burgee Drive, West Mohawk Drive, Mirror Lake Road, West Potomac Drive, and South Miami Drive.
“We are moving forward with the bulkheading of township-owned street ends,” explained Township Administrator Rodney Haines. As the township has recently cracked down on residents to maintain their bulkheads, it became necessary to address its own street ends without bulkheads. The state requires the township to obtain the above-mentioned property easements to attach bulkheads to adjoining homeowners’ private properties.
— Gina G. Scala