The state’s Economic Development Authority wants to aid smaller, locally-based businesses eyeing a place in the growing offshore wind industry.
To that end, the EDA unveiled plans Monday for the Offshore Wind Technical Assistance Program to assist local businesses in learning wind industry standards, including professional credentials, so they can qualify for the right types of contracts, and provide the specific services the industry needs.
The offshore wind industry and clean energy economy have been key industry sectors targeted by Gov. Phil Murphy since he took office in January 2018.
His clean energy plan calls for the state to annually generate 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035 and for the state to be completely reliant on clean and renewable energy by 2050.
At stake is a statewide clean energy industry valued in the billions of dollars. In June, the Board of Public Utilities, which oversees many of New Jersey’s clean energy programs, approved Ørsted’s bid to construct facilities for 1,100 megawatts of wind energy off the coast of Atlantic City. The move is expected to generate $1.17 billion in economic benefits and power 500,000 New Jersey homes.
As the offshore wind industry grows, the state will need to “assure that New Jersey businesses are ready and eager to support developers and manufacturers as they continue to advance projects,” BPU President Joseph Fiordaliso said Monday.
In August, Murphy signed an executive order establishing the Wind Innovation and New Development Institute to create and handle the plan for education, research and job-training of the growing industry.
The WIND Institute is part of the economic master plan Murphy unveiled in October – a broader set of economic incentives the governor envisions would replace the now-expired Grow New Jersey corporate tax breaks and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth gap financing program.
“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,” EDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan said in a Monday statement.