Atlantic City, NJ—Just one year after the offshore wind industry announced it was “back in business” in New Jersey, and eight years after the state passed its historic OWEDA offshore wind energy bill, top international offshore wind developers, state officials, labor leaders, and environmentalists gathered to celebrate the tremendous progress the industry has made in the last 12 months, and to look forward to the next milestones toward getting “steel in the water” in the Atlantic Ocean off of New Jersey.
NJ Board of Public Utilities President Joseph Fiordaliso spoke on the BPU’s progress on projects like the Energy Master Plan and the Offshore Wind Strategic Plan, and State Senate President Steve Sweeney capped the day with his review of offshore wind legislation passed and signed by Governor Phil Murphy, and his vision for what lies ahead for the Senate and Assembly in the next six to twelve months.
One highlight of the day was the panel of four offshore wind developers including Ørsted, a Danish company considered the world’s leading developer of offshore wind farms, and Deepwater Wind, famous for producing the first U.S wind farm off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island. Equinor, a Norwegian company formerly known as Statoil, and the French firm EDF RE, which recently purchased the Fishermen’s Energy project and renamed it ‘Nautilus,’ rounded out the lively panel, which was moderated by Liz Burdock of the Business Network for Offshore Wind.
Doug O’Malley, Director, Environment New Jersey, moderated a wide-ranging panel that included a director from the Rutgers Energy Institute, two labor leaders from United Steelworkers and Blue Green Alliance, and Curtis Fisher, Northeast Regional Executive Director for the National Wildlife Federation.
That group was followed by a State Leadership panel of executives from the Governor’s Office, NJ BPU and the NJ Economic Development Authority (EDA), who stressed the state’s commitment to advancing the offshore industry in New Jersey and developing the supply chain. Former NJ BPU President Jeanne Fox was the moderator for this session.
The event was co-sponsored by Jersey Renews and the Business Network for Offshore Wind, with major organizational support from Environment New Jersey, Work Environment Council and the Energy Foundation.
“The growth of offshore wind in New Jersey is a critical part of establishing a clean energy future for our state and top priority for my administration,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “Advancing offshore wind is not only crucial to our commitment to combating climate change, but to building a strong clean energy economy.”
State Senate President Steve Sweeney said, “We must continue to take the actions needed to support and promote offshore wind energy in New Jersey. We have the resources and the ability to be at the forefront of offshore wind production and in other sectors of renewable energy technologies. We need to seize the leadership in a growing industry with the potential to create good jobs and bring long-term economic growth. This is both an environmental and an economic priority.”
NJ BPU President Joseph Fiordaliso said, “From day one, Governor Murphy has recognized the importance of harnessing offshore wind in the Atlantic to provide abundant, clean energy well into the future. In doing so, we combat the effects of climate change and ensure a healthier environment for our children and grandchildren.”
“And the Board has moved expeditiously, yet prudently, in the first eight months of this Administration to finally take the most important steps to bring offshore wind to New Jersey, and along with it, a new energy economy and good jobs,” President Fiordaliso added.
Brian Sabina, EDA Senior Vice President, Economic Transformation, said, “The EDA fully supports the Murphy administration’s view that offshore wind development is an extraordinary opportunity to create thousands of new, well-paying jobs in New Jersey, while simultaneously pursuing our goal of 100 percent clean, sustainable energy by 2050. With our location at the center of the East Coast wind belt, access to major ports, skilled workforce, and fully committed stakeholders, New Jersey is strategically positioned to take on a leadership role in the region’s adoption of offshore wind.”
Liz Burdock, Executive Director, Business Network for Offshore Wind, said, “Coming off of our most successful IPF international forum ever in Princeton last April, I am really pleased to return to New Jersey, and to be a part of the tremendous forward momentum I see from the state officials and the developers. New Jersey is now back in front as a national leader on renewable energy.”
Doug O’Malley, Director of Environment New Jersey, said, “We’re facing rising seas, intensifying storms, and unprecedented health threats because we’ve relied so long on dirty energy sources. But sitting right here next to us is the Atlantic Ocean, and its winds provide a massive source of clean, renewable energy. Under Gov. Murphy, New Jersey is jumpstarting our offshore wind industry and we have the chance to finally harness the wind and our clean energy potential. We’re seeing the signs of a race to the top on offshore wind, with states adopting increasingly bold goals. New Jersey is leading the way and we need to fulfill the vision of the Murphy Administration’s aggressive offshore wind goals.”
Debra Coyle McFadden, Acting Director for the New Jersey Work Environment Council, said, “As a coastal state, offshore wind is an abundant source of renewable energy for New Jersey. Since Governor Murphy has made it clear that offshore wind is a priority, it’s time to focus not just on the why of it, but the how. As we make the transition to renewable energy, we want to maximize the benefits for the New Jersey workforce. Offshore wind development can translate into expansive job creation and demand for skilled workers on the docks, at sea, and on the factory floor building wind turbines
Bernie Gerard, Vice President for Health Professionals and Allied Employees, said, “This year, 11 New Jersey counties received a failing grade for air quality from the American Lung Association. For one of the most densely populated states in the country, that means big health problems for our many residents. As the impacts of climate change become increasingly relevant in our day-to-day lives, rates of asthma, lung cancer, diabetes, and heart disease all rise with it. Transitioning to renewable energy production that capitalizes on local resources like offshore wind is an essential step towards mitigating both the health and environmental harm of climate change.”
Frank M. Gilliam, Jr. Mayor of Atlantic City, said, “Atlantic City is poised to be one of the greenest and most sustainable cities in the country. We are truly the green paradise by the sea.”
Anna Fendley, Legislative Representative, United Steelworkers, said, “Now that New Jersey is moving forward as a leader on offshore wind development, it must also be a leader in creating good, union jobs in the supply chain, fabrication, installation, and maintenance of turbines. New Jersey must partner with industry and stakeholders who share these goals of creating good jobs while benefiting the environment.”
Rev. Fletcher Harper, Executive Director, Green Faith, said, “This Earth is a remarkable gift, and we need to accelerate the development of renewable energy, including environmentally-responsible offshore wind, as rapidly as we possibly can. The time is now, and New Jersey’s plans, if implemented rapidly, are the right thing to do.”
Lisa Ruiz, Nurses’ Representative, Shore Nurses Union, said, “Offshore wind farms off the coast of Atlantic City will have health and climate benefits for all of us living at the Jersey Shore. Generating electricity from offshore wind farms will reduce the need for fossil fuel power generation. This will decrease emissions into our air of harmful pollutants. Using wind energy can reduce the risk of asthma, heart attacks and hospitalizations. Offshore wind will save lives in Atlantic County.”
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About the Business Network for Offshore Wind
The Business Network for Offshore Wind is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing an offshore wind supply chain in the United States. The Network is focused on delivering education, creating partnerships and advancing the industry. All membership and event proceeds are invested back into supporting the industry by helping the Network continue programmatic education and develop the tools and networks necessary to create a U.S. offshore wind supply chain. The Network hosts the annual International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum (IPF) (www.2019ipf.com), the leading technical conference for offshore wind in the United States dedicated to moving the industry forward.
Jersey Renews is a broad-based coalition of labor, faith, community, and environmental organizations urging our elected officials to act now. We want environmental justice, clean renewable energy, good jobs, and protections for workers & communities, representing more than 60 organizations.