01 Nov 2023
At approximately 3 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, November 1, 2023, on an earnings call from its Headquarters in Copenhagen, the Danish offshore wind corporation Ørsted announced that it is abandoning its Ocean Wind One and Ocean Wind Two offshore wind projects off the coast of Cape May County, New Jersey. The announcement comes after more than two years of aggressive and unrelenting legal and public opposition led by the County of Cape May. The last straw for Ørsted appears to have been the filing by the County and multiple private sector Plaintiffs of a massive, unprecedented federal lawsuit challenging federal permits issued for the Ørsted Ocean Wind One project.
“This is a great day for the people and businesses of Cape May County,” said County Commission Director Len Desiderio. “This is a great day for the Atlantic Ocean. This is a great day for the whales and dolphins. The massive, reckless experiment known as Ocean Wind One has been stopped and Ocean Wind Two abandoned. There were many who consistently told us that we were wasting our time, that there was nothing we could do about the project being built. Well, I am happy that the County Board of Commissioners and so many in our business community and the grassroots groups that have been protesting did not listen to the naysayers. We are a small county down here at the southernmost point of New Jersey, but we knew all along that our economy, our environment, our very way of life was at stake Ørsted has walked away from Ocean Wind One, but we are not walking away from this fight. We intend to redouble our efforts to ensure that our horizon remains free of massive offshore industrialization.”
Ørsted CEO Mads Nipper told investors that Ørsted was walking away from the Ocean Wind One and Ocean Wind Two projects because, “Ørsted has taken the decision to cease the development of the Ocean Wind 1 and 2 projects…Ørsted has updated its view on certain assumptions, including tax credit monetization and the timing and likelihood of final construction permits.”
“There is no doubt that our efforts played a significant roll in Ørsted’s decision to abandon Ocean Wind One and Ocean Wind Two,” said Former New Jersey Superior Court Judge, Michael J. Donohue, of the law firm of Blaney, Donohue & Weinberg in Avalon, New Jersey, who serves as Special Counsel on Offshore Wind to Cape May County. “When we began opposing Ørsted’s actions more than two years ago, they said we were wasting our time. Many friends and adversaries throughout this fight took to referring to me as Don Quixote and told us we were as crazy as he was. But there was too much at stake to give up. They said there was nothing that could stop the Ocean Wind One project. When we litigated before the Board of Public Utilities, they told us we were irresponsible for opposing something that was a fait accompli. When we made Ørsted sue us in order to get road permits and file easements, they said we were being unreasonable. When we filed appeals to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court, we were told we were wasting the Court’s time. Without all of these actions by the County of Cape May, Ørsted’s path forward would have been much more attractive. Economic factors certainly impacted Ørsted’s decision to abandon Ocean Wind One. But there can be no doubt that after all that was done over by the County over the past two years, when the County of Cape May, the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce, the Wildwood Hotel and Motel Association and a group of brave businesses from our Fisheries community had the courage to file an unprecedented federal lawsuit challenging Ørsted’s federal permits, it is clear that the situation became untenable for them. Hundreds of thousands of acres of the Atlantic Ocean environment, as well as our local tourism and fisheries economies have been saved as a result.”
Along with Donohue’s firm, Blaney, Donohue & Weinberg, the County enlisted Roger and Nancie Marzulla of the Marzulla Law Firm of Washington, D.C., Dan Ginolfi and Howard Marlowe of Warwick Consulting of Washington, D.C., Anthony Bocchi of the Cullen Dykman law firm’s Hackensack office, and the attorneys of Cultural Heritage Partners of Richmond, Virginia.
“I want to commend Judge Donohue for the unrelenting effort he has put in coordinating our legal and public relations efforts. Our litigation approach has been forceful and unprecedented. Our media campaign has spread the news of Cape May County’s efforts around the world. There is no doubt that without the County of Cape May’s efforts on the legal and media fronts, along with our private sector partners and the grassroots organizations, Ørsted would not have felt such significant pressure to abandon the Ocean Wind One and Ocean Wind Two projects. I also want to thank Congressman Jeff Van Drew for his passionate and unceasing efforts on our behalf on the federal level. This is a great story of how a community pulled together against extremely powerful forces and ended up prevailing in the protection of our environment, our economy and our way of life.”
Cape May County | https://capemaycountynj.gov/