South Amboy Mayor Fred Henry (left) and Rise Light & Power CEO Clint Plummer review future plans to transform the former coal-fired Werner Generating Station into a clean energy hub. — Courtesy: CBRE
By Joshua Burd
An energy company has acquired a former power plant site in South Amboy, where it now hopes to build an offshore wind facility that could power more than a million homes.
According to CBRE, which brokered the sale, Rise Light & Power paid an undisclosed sum for the 50-acre tract at 135 Main St. Its plans call for developing what’s known as the Outerbridge Renewable Connector, bringing new life to the former E.H. Werner coal- and oil-fired power station operated by Jersey Central Power & Light Co., which was retired in 2015.
The facility was subsequently demolished, CBRE said, while the site has been fully remediated.
“We are thrilled to play a part in what will be an amazingly impactful development within the Garden State,” said Jeff Dunne, a vice chairman with CBRE. “The Outerbridge Renewable Connector will have a positive imprint on our community and environment for decades to come and we couldn’t be happier to have a role in assisting Rise Light & Power on this important project.”
Dunne represented the buyer alongside Jeremy Neuer, an executive vice president with CBRE. They noted that Rise Light & Power, the Queens, New York-based subsidiary of LS Power, aims to power up to 1.4 million homes in New Jersey and the region, helping to support Gov. Phil Murphy’s clean energy goals for the state.
The new owner will make use of the site’s existing substation and switchyard, rail and highway access, a pier with expansion potential and unobstructed access to the Atlantic Ocean. CBRE added that the industrially zoned property is already connected to the New Jersey electric market, while new and upgraded underground infrastructure will connect the facility to the Deans substation in Middlesex County.
All told, the project could represent an investment of more than $1 billion and result in the creation of more than three gigawatts of renewable energy, CBRE said.
“We are proud to announce our proposal to build new clean energy projects and establish South Amboy as a modern, green energy hub in New Jersey,” said Clint Plummer, CEO of Rise Light & Power. “Offshore wind is one of the most powerful tools we have to build a clean energy future. However, the region lacks the infrastructure to successfully bring it onshore and deliver it cost effectively. By transforming a local, aging facility and connecting it to high-power offshore wind farms, the Outerbridge Renewable Connector will help the region achieve its clean energy targets in a way that brings significant good-paying jobs and economic benefits.
“We are proud to help pave the path to a greener, cleaner future, and we look forward to working with stakeholders in South Amboy and across New Jersey to achieve this goal.”