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The companies behind the Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC) - an offshore wind transmission "backbone" planned by independent transmission company Trans-Elect and developer Atlantic Grid Development, and backed by Google, Bregal Energy, Marubeni Corp. and Elia - have revealed some of the details for the first phase of the project.

The group has selected New Jersey for the project's first phase, which will be called the New Jersey (NJ) Energy Link. According to the companies, the selection was based on the state's commitment to developing an offshore wind energy industry and the large potential for renewable energy that exists off its shoreline.

The NJ Energy Link, which will be built in three phases, will be a subsea offshore electrical transmission cable linking energy resources and end users in northern, central and southern New Jersey. The cable will span the length of New Jersey and carry 3 GW of electricity.

According to AWC, the NJ Energy Link will help strengthen the reliability of New Jersey’s grid by providing increased options to move electricity; providing “black start” capability (immediate start-up) to restore power in New Jersey after a blackout; and helping avoid building out new controversial overhead transmission lines on land. In addition, AWC says the link will help lower the state’s energy prices by improving the flow of electricity to minimize energy peaks that cause high prices; moving the cheapest and cleanest energy to where it is needed, when it is needed; and minimizing costly upgrades to the grid.

The NJ Energy Link will also help support the goal of developing offshore wind by reducing the cost of offshore wind energy; creating a superhighway for wind farms; and providing ratepayers with a transmission line that works 100% of the time, not just when the wind is blowing, AWC adds.

AWC expects that construction on the NJ Energy Link will begin in 2016 and that the first phase will enter service in 2019.


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