For Immediate Release: July 19, 2018
Contact: Norah Langweiler, NJ Work Environment Council, (609) 214-5110
Time for Turbines:
Labor, Faith & Enviro Leaders Urge NJ To Continue Moving Forward
on Offshore Wind at NJBPU Hearing
Trenton – This morning, Jersey Renews, represented by a number of advocates from the diverse coalition of more than 60 labor, faith, and environmental leaders, testified at the Board of Public Utilities hearing in support of Governor Murphy’s executive order to implement the 2010 Off-Shore Wind Economic Development Act.
“Governor Murphy’s Executive Order in late January was the official signal that New Jersey was back in the off-shore wind business. We have the best potential for off-shore wind on the East Coast – it makes sense that we should have largest off-shore wind goal. However, the true sign that off-shore wind will be jumpstarted is when the BPU moves forward with an off-shore wind financing program. The BPU needs to get it right and this hearing is a way for them to get feedback from a roomful of stakeholders and off-shore wind developers who want to be on the ground floor of the off-shore wind revolution in New Jersey. This level of interest clearly shows the promise of off-shore wind in New Jersey,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey.
“New Jersey has been working to reduce our carbon footprint through electrification of transportation, energy efficiency programs, and reducing air pollution in our cities,” said Norah Langweiler, campaign organizer for Jersey Renews. “Working together with environmental, faith, labor, community, and business leaders, we can bring New Jersey to the forefront of sustainable energy production by closing the loop on energy usage through investments in green technology, domestic sourcing of labor and materials, and following through on Governor Murphy’s aggressive plan for offshore wind.”
New Jersey’s windy shoreline and central location on the east coast make the state a prime location for offshore wind energy generation to use within the state and to export to neighboring states. The governor’s plan to develop 1,100 megawatts of offshore wind energy on the path to 3,500 megawatts by 2030 will make New Jersey a national leader in offshore wind commitments.
“There’s one non-negotiable for people of faith: the Earth, God’s creation, is a sacred gift whose care is in our hands. It couldn’t be clearer that New Jersey needs to get serious about offshore wind and move aggressively to reach the 3,500 megawatt level of offshore wind by 2030. Anything less won’t pass moral muster,” said Fletcher Harper, executive director of GreenFaith.
A decade ago, New Jersey was positioned to become a national leader on offshore wind but poor policy decisions from the Christie Administration halted progress, even after passage of the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act of 2010. Even with developments in technology, efficiency, and a five-fold increase in wind generation nationally since 2008, New Jersey has not seen any increase in wind energy production in that same time.
“Given the escalating environmental and health costs of carbon-based fuels, it is imperative that market-driven innovation and forward-thinking policy work together in transitioning to a clean energy economy,” said Richard Lawton, executive director of New Jersey Sustainable Business Council. “Developing offshore wind is a critical component of a renewable energy strategy that leverages existing technology and New Jersey’s natural assets in ways that will create good-paying 21st century jobs. We support Governor Murphy’s Offshore Wind Strategic Plan and urge the BPU to move quickly on its implementation.”
“It is now more important than ever that New Jersey invests in clean, renewable energy projects. We are more than thrilled that Governor Murphy and the BPU are making sure that offshore wind is one of them. Our unique shoreline provides ideal conditions for wind turbines, and it’s past time we took advantage of that. This 1,100 MGW project is a major step in creating a renewable energy future for NJ,” said Amy Goldsmith, executive director of Clean Water Action.
Offshore wind has clear benefits for both labor and the environment because the massive wind turbines create an opportunity for a supply-chain of union labor via construction, delivery, installation, interconnection, and long-term maintenance of the units. Clean, renewable energy harvested from New Jersey’s natural resources, like our windy coastlines, will ensure that any energy efficiency programs or investment in transportation electrification will not be undercut by the use of fossil fuels for energy production.
“As New Jersey continues its leadership in offshore wind development, it must partner with developers who share the priorities of the state and its stakeholders for building the industry and supply chain in New Jersey,” said John Shinn, director of United Steelworkers District 4. “Achieving these goals will take collaboration from all parties to ensure that New Jersey creates good, union jobs in the supply chain, fabrication, installation, and maintenance of offshore wind turbines.”
“We are heartened by the Murphy Administration’s plan to make New Jersey a leader in offshore wind power. This action, which over the next decade or so will clean up New Jersey’s energy mix significantly, supports Isles’ long-running energy efficiency work,” said John Hart, chief operating officer of Isles, Inc. “We trust that this new industry will create employment opportunities for hardworking people in urban areas like Trenton.”
As New Jersey builds its renewable energy infrastructure, public hearings addressing the implementation of those plans like today are essential. The Board of Public Utilities needs to thoughtfully plan New Jersey’s offshore wind procurement on the way to 3,500 megawatts to develop an effective OREC system and meet the needs of labor, like training and job placement, as we move toward a just transition to clean, renewable energy.
Jersey Renews is a broad-based coalition of more than 60 labor, faith, community, environmental and business organizations pushing to make New Jersey a leader in climate policy. www.jerseyrenews.org