FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2021
William P. O’Hearn, Offshore Power LLC, 201.486.2034
Doug O’Malley, Environment New Jersey, 917.449.6812
Trenton, NJ—In a year when everything has been different, the fourth annual Time for Turbines offshore wind energy event was no exception. It was re-formatted as a free, two-day, half-day virtual event for the first time, and focused heavily on the business and employment opportunities offered by the fast-growing offshore wind industry in New Jersey.
Encouraged by a newly supportive federal Biden administration and influenced by the major announcements on the manufacturing hub at the new NJ Wind Port and the turbine foundation factory at the Port of Paulsboro, the conference dug into issues of worker diversity and equity and to ensure that the thousands of good union jobs created by the offshore wind supply chain reach communities of color.
Top international offshore wind developers, a federal regulator, state officials, industry experts, labor leaders, and environmentalists shared presentations on the tremendous progress the industry has made in the last 12 months and looked ahead to more major developments for the rest of 2021 to allow New Jersey to reach its goal of 7500 MW of clean, renewable offshore wind by 2035 to reach its climate goals of clean energy
Day 1’s first panel covered the economics of the industry’s supply chain, and included a representative from the BlueGreen Alliance and labor leaders from the United Steelworkers and New Jersey Carpenters who discussed the state’s progress on workforce development and training programs. NJ Work Environment Council (WEC) Executive Director Debra Coyle McFadden moderated this session.
NJ Board of Public Utilities President Joseph Fiordaliso and NJ Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan spoke on the state’s status of the WIND Institute, NJ Wind Port, Port of Paulsboro and the upcoming second solicitation for up to 2400 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind power, with a decision expected in June.
The second panel on Day 1 featured three offshore wind developers including Ørsted, the Danish company that is getting closer to construction of its 1100MW contract; Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, which holds a huge Wind Energy Area off Long Beach Island, NJ; and Equinor, which just won two major offshore wind New York State power contracts totaling almost 2500 MW, which was led by William O’Hearn.
The third panel of the day moved deeper into using green energy as a way to address income inequality and environmental justice issues. Hugh Bailey, Deputy Commissioner, NJ Department of Labor, moderated this session of worker, labor and community advocates and analysts.
Day 2 opened with comments from Senator Cory Booker, and the conference rolled into a State Government panel of top executives from the Governor’s Office, NJBPU, NJDEP and the NJEDA who stressed the state’s commitment to supporting the offshore wind industry with sound, sustainable long-term policies. Former NJ BPU President Jeanne Fox was the moderator for this session.
The afternoon was filled out with an environmental and fishing panel moderated by Catherine Bowes of the National Wildlife Federation, and a Greening the Grid panel led by Rich Heidorn of RTO Insider magazine.
Emily Kuhn of Renewable Consulting Group gave the keynote on the landmark Supply Chain Forecast for US Offshore Wind Power white paper issued in 2019 and updated for this conference. Adrienne Downey, Principal Engineer for NYSERDA, closed the event with a New York perspective on offshore wind development and ways in which the two states may be able to work together on a regional basis in the future.
The event was sponsored by Jersey Renews, with major organizational support from Environment New Jersey, the New Jersey Work Environment Council, the Energy Foundation and Fund for New Jersey.
“Offshore wind is the fastest growing industry in the renewable energy sector,” said Debra Coyle McFadden, executive director of New Jersey Work Environment Council. “Today’s conference highlights the many exciting economic, workforce and environmental benefits for New Jersey as we begin to transition towards a clean energy economy. This is a unique opportunity to create thousands of high skilled, good, family sustaining jobs.”
“Building a large, equitable offshore wind industry in the U.S. is an excellent opportunity for the Biden Administration and East Coast states to respond to the current moment and the intersecting crises of COVID-19, climate change and inequality,” said Lara Skinner, Director, Cornell Worker Institute and Chair, Labor Leading on Climate Initiative.
“Steps we can take now to ensure an efficient supply chain and encourage the participation of existing US suppliers and workforce include:
- providing suppliers with transparency into the market and information on when and where the demand will be required,
- identifying knowledge and training gaps for local skilled workers who wish to participate in OSW opportunities, and
- increasing collaboration between states to minimize supply chain inefficiencies,” said Emily Kuhn, Principal at Renewable Consulting Group.
“USW District 4 is excited to join Time for Turbines again this year. As we get closer to steel in the water off the NJ coast, we look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure that American workers are making the hundreds of component parts in this new industry,” said Del Vitale, Director, District 4, US Steelworkers.
“Even amidst the pandemic, offshore wind off the Jersey Shore is a lot closer to being a reality after the actions of the last year. But 2020 also forced us to reckon with the impacts of climate change, from more extreme weather events and massive wildlife, and amidst the COVID shutdown, what a cleaner world and air looked like. We need to move forward with offshore wind so we can reach our renewable energy goals – and create a more sustainable world,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey.
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.