What appropriate timing. The Wind Council on Wednesday, Earth Day, released a report detailing plans for creating the Wind Innovation and New Development (WIND) Institute. The WIND Institute will serve as a center for education, research, innovation, and workforce training related to the development of offshore wind in New Jersey and the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region.
Last August Gov. Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 79, establishing a Council for the Wind Innovation and New Development Institute, that was to develop and implement a plan to create a regional hub for New Jersey’s burgeoning offshore wind industry and build upon the State’s commitment to making New Jersey a national leader in offshore wind.
The Council includes representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, the Board of Public Utilities, the Department of Education, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
“Offshore wind is coming to the United States and bringing billions of investment dollars and thousands of jobs along with it,” said Murphy. “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to not only grow New Jersey’s economy, but also move rapidly toward a clean energy future that puts us on a path to 100 percent clean energy by 2050.”
Wednesday’s report outlines the State’s plans for establishing a WIND Institute that will facilitate workforce development, research, and innovation in New Jersey’s offshore wind industry.
Specific recommendations for the WIND institute outlined in the report include that it be established as an independent authority with a corollary non-profit; coordinate and galvanize cross-organizational efforts by acting as a centralized hub for offshore wind workforce development; champion research, innovation, and thought leadership that unlocks market potential; leverage a combination of state funding, federal funding, and – where appropriate and feasible – philanthropic funding to ensure sustained and adequate support; and have a physical presence to support in-person collaboration and act as a hub of activity for the region’s industry.