On October 28, 2019, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) has announced its proposal for an Offshore Wind Technical Assistance Program that will support local companies to develop the skills and competencies needed to participate in New Jersey’s burgeoning offshore wind (OSW) industry.
The proposal anticipates that the NJEDA will contract with an experienced OSW advisory and certification company to help participating small- and medium-sized businesses assess their current capacity to supply the OSW market and develop an action plan to get up to the current industry standards.
Companies that complete the proposed program will receive assistance implementing their action plan and will be independently certified with industry credentials that are important for securing contracts.
“Offshore wind is the foundation of Governor Phil Murphy’s vision for 100 percent clean energy and a cornerstone of his plan for a stronger, fairer New Jersey economy,” said NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan.
“New Jersey is well-positioned to become America’s offshore wind capital, and the Offshore Wind Technical Assistance Program will ensure New Jersey businesses and workers are equipped with the skills and industry expertise they need to take advantage of this unprecedented growth opportunity,” he added.
Governor Murphy’s economic plan identifies offshore wind as a focus sector where New Jersey can stimulate significant economic growth and job creation. In addition, the Clean Energy Act of 2018 laid out a goal for New Jersey of achieving 3,500 MW of OSW energy by 2030 and 100 percent clean energy in the state by 2050.
To achieve these goals, the NJEDA, through its Office of Economic Transformation (OET), has been working closely with the Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU), the Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and other agencies on the Offshore Wind Task Force to expand New Jersey’s offshore wind industry with programs such as the Offshore Wind Tax Credit and the Offshore Wind Supply Chain Registry.
“New Jersey’s offshore wind industry has finally seen forward momentum under Governor Murphy’s leadership, and the proposed Offshore Wind Technical Assistance Program is another positive step to assure the industry that New Jersey businesses are ready and eager to support developers and manufacturers as they continue to advance projects in New Jersey,” said NJBPU President Joseph L. Fiordaliso.
The program announced today is designed to prepare companies to meet the specific needs of the OSW industry. As a first step toward implementation, the NJEDA will procure and contract with an experienced OSW advisory and certification company to serve as the Program’s Technical Assistance (TA) Provider. This selection process will include a public Request for Proposals (RFP). Once the TA provider is selected, NJEDA will work with it to refine the program’s ultimate structure and company selection criteria.
“Developing offshore wind energy is a critical step in fighting climate change and sea-level rise, as well as an opportunity to grow the green energy sector,” DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe said. “We look forward to partnering with the Economic Development Authority and Board of Public Utilities in bringing to fruition the many opportunities associated with an Offshore Wind Energy Technical Program, as well as working toward Governor Murphy’s clean energy vision for New Jersey.”
“Being able to demonstrate to OSW manufacturers and other stakeholders that New Jersey has a robust supply chain ready to serve their needs is critical to attracting capital investment in OSW projects,” said Sy Oytan, Sector Lead, Offshore Wind, NJEDA. “Announcing this program sends a clear signal that New Jersey is committed to supporting OSW growth while also ensuring that local companies and workers are positioned to benefit from this growing industry.”
The proposal anticipates that participating companies will be responsible for a portion of the cost to ensure their commitment to full participation and completion of the program. Based on the NJEDA’s expectation for which parts of the OSW supply chain will take root in the United States first, the initial cohort of the program is likely to focus on manufacturing companies.
“New Jersey clearly recognizes OSW’s potential to drive major economic growth and is taking strategic steps to establish a network of support for investors and manufacturers considering their options in the State,” said Liz Burdock, CEO and President, Business Network for Offshore Wind. “The technical assistance program will help companies take stock of their bandwidth and build out the right capabilities to support the large-scale opportunities to come.”
Featured photo of offshore wind turbines in Denmark is by Storm Cunningham.