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A study commissioned by the Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC) on the "build feasibility" of constructing offshore converter platforms for the New Jersey Energy Link (NJEL) concludes that it is feasible to fabricate the 20,000-ton converter platforms at the Paulsboro Marine Terminal (PMT).

The NJEL will be an offshore electrical transmission cable, buried under the ocean, linking energy resources and users in northern, central and southern New Jersey. The cable will span the length of New Jersey, and, when complete, could carry 3,000 GW of electricity.

The NJEL is expected to be built in three phases over a decade, with the first phase carrying 1 GW of electricity. The NJEL is expected to begin construction in 2016, with the first phase to be in service in 2019. The converter platforms that would be constructed at PMT are offshore high-voltage direct current and alternating current substations in enclosed topsides erected on top of a steel foundation placed in New Jersey’s Wind Energy Area.

The lease would begin after passage of legislation and admittance of the NJEL into PJM’s Regional Transmission Plan, which could be as soon as this fall.

The study, conducted by Bechtel for the AWC, reveals the construction work will also support an average workforce of 500-600 people at Paulsboro over the 19-month construction period.

These jobs would be part of the 1,980 direct jobs that the NJEL would create in New Jersey during the construction and installation of the project, the AWC notes.

Bechtel is serving as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the first phase of the NJEL and will engineer, design, and install onshore transmission lines and substations: two onshore converter stations and one offshore converter station that will make up the NJEL backbone.

The AWC says the project will also improve the reliability of New Jersey’s power grid and help lower electricity prices by delivering both offshore wind and conventional electricity generated in New Jersey to where it is needed and when it is needed along the coast, whether it be southern, central or northern New Jersey.

The AWC backbone transmission project is led by Trans-Elect with Atlantic Grid Development as the project developer and Google, Bregal Energy, Marubeni Corp. and Elia as project sponsors.

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