On Friday, August 16th nearly 250 people packed the Stockton University Fannie Lou Hamer room for Time for Turbines, the third annual New Jersey offshore wind conference hosted by Jersey Renews and the Business Network for Offshore Wind. This singular conference brings together labor leaders, environmental advocates, government representatives, and industry leaders to connect with one another as New Jersey begins to build and invest in the burgeoning offshore wind industry.
At the event, Governor Murphy announced via recorded video that he signed Executive Order No. 79 creating a council to design the New Jersey WIND Institute to be led by the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. The WIND Institute will act as a clearinghouse for offshore wind education and training programs to develop a highly-skilled workforce along with the technology and development necessary for offshore wind infrastructure.
The event included diverse perspectives essential to ensuring that the New Jersey offshore wind industry is developed in a sustainable way. Discussion focused on creating good, family-sustaining jobs and labor-friendly policies, ensuring that both the turbines and construction timeline do not interfere with migration patterns for wildlife, and developing a smooth process as we transition the grid to renewables.
The morning was focused on policy, with panels on the role of government in offshore wind and big developers in the industry along with statements from Senate President Steve Sweeney, former Board of Public Utilities president Joe Fiordaliso, and Economic Develop Authority president Tim Sullivan.
After lunch, panels focused on the mechanics of the developing industry, with an emphasis on opportunities for workers, environmental concerns, and how offshore wind will be integrated into the grid as we electrify different sectors like transportation.
The labor panel was moderated by Debra Coyle McFadden, executive director for New Jersey Work Environment Council and featured an Assistant Commissioner for Labor and Workforce Development and labor leaders from the United Steelworkers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Carpenters, and the BlueGreen Alliance. Panelists discussed the opportunity to create stable jobs with good pay and the in the burgeoning offshore wind indsutry.
NJ Department of Environmental Protection, Rutgers University Center for Ocean Observing Leadership Labs, Anglers for Offshore Wind, and LS Cable American populated the environment panel, which was moderated by Catherine Bowes of the National Wildlife Federation. The grid integration panel was led by Rick Dovey of the Atlantic County Utilities Authority, the former home of Time for Turbines. with Rutgers University Energy Institute, NJ Board of Public Utilities NJ Rate Counsel, and New Jersey OceanGrid.
One highlight of the day was the unique panel that looked at how transportation electrification and offshore wind development are connected and the process for integrating both into the grid simultaneously. Doug O’Malley, Executive Director, Environment New Jersey moderated a panel of NJ BPU representatives, ChargEVC, and GreenLots.
Time for Turbines is growing right along with the offshore wind industry in New Jersey. In 2017, Time for Turbines: No More Wasted Wind was a small half-day event in the control room at Atlantic County Utilities Authority. 2018’s Time for Turbines: What a Difference a Year Makes saw a marked increase in interest in offshore wind, with an overflowing room and a full docket of speakers. In our third year, Time for Turbines has become an annual staple in offshore wind discussions in New Jersey. Time for Turbines 2019 was on the heels of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities award to Orsted for the 1100 megawatt (MW) offshore wind power contract, currently the largest offshore wind project in the country. This year, the event was moved to Stockton University a block from the beach in Atlantic City. Even with the move to a bigger facility, it was standing room only as attendees gathered to hear from our expert-packed panels and star-studded keynotes.
Thank you all for a fantastic event – we’ll see you next year!
Wind Power Pros and Cons discussed in Atlantic City
Press of Atlantic City, August 16, 2019
Sweeney Discusses Future of Wind Energy at ‘Time for Turbines’ Event
Insider NJ, August 16, 2019
At Offshore Wind Event Speakers Emphasize NJs Ability to Lead Industry
ROI NJ, August 19, 2019
Labor, Social Justice, Jobs Retraining Experts See Opportunity in Offshore Wind
Civic Story, August 28, 2019