On Monday, August 20 Jersey Renews and the Business Network for Offshore Wind hosted Time for Turbines: What a Difference a Year Makes at the ACUA Wastewater Treatment Facility in Atlantic City. Last year, offshore wind advocates were advocating for the need for offshore wind without the support of our governor. This year, the event was expanded into a half-day conference where attendees heard from leaders in offshore wind development, environmentalists, labor leaders, and government officials on how we make offshore wind a reality in New Jersey. The event had an audience of nearly 100 – packing the small control room at the ACUA and then some – and it was diverse – wind developers, representatives for elected officials, community organizers, professors, labor reps, and more came to hear about New Jersey’s plans and potential for offshore wind.

The agenda was nearly as packed as the room. The event kicked off with warm welcomes from ACUA president Rick Dovey and Doug O’Malley, executive director of Environment New Jersey. The first panel, Advancing Offshore Wind in New Jersey: Diversity of Interest, featured Curtis Fisher from National Wildlife Federation, Hillary Bright from BlueGreen Alliance, Prof Frank Felder from Rutgers, and Anna Fendly from the United Steelworkers, and was moderated by Doug O’Malley. This panel focused on environmental and labor concerns around the development of a domestic offshore wind manufacturing hub.

Next up was Leadership at the State Level which focused on challenges and opportunities the state government faces in ensuring ethical development of New Jersey’s offshore wind industry. This panel was moderated by Jeanne Fox and featured Anne Marie McShea of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, Brian Sabina of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, and Madeline Urbish, Environmental Policy Advisor for Governor Murphy.

The final panel, Development of an Indsutry was moderated by Liz Burdock, executive director of the Business Network for Offshore Wind. Beth Treseder from Orsted, Jonathan Forde from Equinor, Clint Plummer from DeepWater Wind, and Doug Copeland from EDF RE all had the opportunity to address the complex issue from the developer’s perspective.

The event also had a number of special guests including Former Governor Jim Florio, BPU president Joseph Fiordaliso, and New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney who made appearances to support offshore wind development in our state.

The event concluded with a packed press conference in front of the turbines with a diverse group of speakers including a number of panelists and Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam, Assemblymen Mazzeo & Armato, Bernie Gerard, Vice President of Health Professionals and Allied Employees, Debra Coyle McFadden, acting director of the New Jersey Work Environment Council, and Fletcher Harper, executive director of GreenFaith.

Earlier this year, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 8 and set us off in the right direction with a call for proposals for 1,100 megawatts en route to 3,500 megawatts by 2030.