Daylong education, networking event focuses on offshore wind

By Alex Wolmart
Atlantic City | Aug 15, 2019 at 5:00 am

A coalition of labor, community and environmental organizations, Jersey Renews, is partnering with a Maryland-based nonprofit, the Business Network for Offshore Wind, to host Time for Turbines III, an all-day educational and networking event at the Atlantic City campus of Stockton University this Friday.

“We invite the New Jersey business, labor and environmental communities to join us at our third annual Time for Turbines event,” said Liz Burdock, CEO and president of the network. “The offshore wind industry is estimated to create a $70 billion supply chain by 2030. New Jersey companies should not wait, because the opportunity to be on the ground floor and make the crucial contacts won’t always be here.”

The announcement of the event comes only weeks after regulators at the state Board of Public Utilities awarded Danish energy company Ørsted a 1100-megawatt offshore wind energy contract to build turbines 15 miles off the coast of Atlantic City and power 500,000 homes.

Jersey Renews said the conference, a day full of learning and networking, is organized to help build a just and sustainable offshore wind industry in the state.

“This conference is so exciting because of the breadth of the panelists and attendees,” said Norah Langweiler, campaign organizer for Jersey Renews. “It’s rare to get stakeholders from so many different sectors in one room, having nuanced conversations of vital importance — it’s the future of energy production — and that’s what we’ve done.”

Presentations from Ørsted, the Norwegian global energy company Equinor and the joint-venture energy company Atlantic Shores will be given at the event. New Jersey companies will have the opportunity to pitch major offshore firms.

State government will be represented at the event by the following people:

  • BPU President Joseph Fiordaliso;
  • State Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford);
  • Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan;
  • Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo;
  • Department of Environmental Protection chief of staff Shawn LaTourette;
  • BPU Commissioner Bob Gordon;
  • BPU Commissioner Upendra Chivukula.

The economic opportunities of the offshore wind industry and need for the skilled workforce will be outlined by labor leaders from the steelworkers, carpenters and IBEW unions.

Environmental groups like the National Wildlife Federation, recreational fishermen, power grid experts and scientists from Rutgers University will give insights on minimizing ocean impacts, working with the fishing community and connecting to the onshore grid.