Murphy’s Wind Council to establish offshore wind hub

white wind turbine generating electricity on sea

Gov. Phil Murphy’s Wind Council on Wednesday released a report detailing the creation of an offshore wind workforce development hub in the state.

The Wind Innovation and New Development Institute will serve as a center for education, research and workforce training related to the development of offshore wind in the state as well as the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

“Offshore wind is coming to the United States and bringing billions of investment dollars and thousands of jobs along with it,” Murphy said. “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% clean energy by 2050. The report released today outlines our plans for establishing a WIND Institute that will facilitate workforce development, research, and innovation in New Jersey’s offshore wind industry, ensuring that we take full advantage of this opportunity to grow our economy and create new opportunities for New Jersey workers while protecting our environment.”

The Wind Council said it gathered data through a gap analysis of workforce assets in the state and talked with stakeholder groups and found that having a single entity focused on coordinating state- and industry-wide collaboration was essential to address the needs of offshore wind companies.

Here are the specific recommendations for the WIND Institute via the report:

  • Establish itself as an independent entity with a nonprofit;
  • Coordinate cross-organizational efforts by acting as a hub for offshore wind workforce development;
  • Champion research, innovation and thought leadership;
  • Combine state, federal and philanthropic funding to ensure sustained and adequate support;
  • Have a physical presence to support in-person collaboration and act as a regional hub for the industry.

“It’s incredibly rare that a state gets to establish a brand new industry. Offshore wind presents this opportunity for New Jersey and taking proactive action to establish a robust industry and supply chain will kickstart significant business growth and job creation,” NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan said. “The Wind Council report lays out a clear roadmap for establishing New Jersey as the epicenter of the region’s offshore wind industry. This would be a welcome economic boost at any time, but it will be even more valuable as we recover from COVID-19.”

According to DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe, the report lays out a clear set of strategies to help facilitate collaboration and mutual support, including partnering with conservationist and fishing communities.

“Given the twin threats of climate change and COVID-19, offshore wind is one of the key clean energy resources that can help us rebuild our economy, as it will bring thousands of jobs, billions in economic returns, and enough renewable power to serve millions of homes. Offshore wind will deliver the efficient, sustainable energy New Jersey needs to achieve our 100 percent clean energy future,” BPU President Joseph L. Fiordaliso said.“What’s more, between having the ‘Greenest Governor’ to awarding the single-largest wind project in the country to date, New Jersey is prepared to lead the coordination of public, industry, and community stakeholders through the WIND Institute.”

The offshore wind industry is also a major job creator, DOL Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said.

“Establishing New Jersey as an industry leader will bring thousands of good, permanent, family sustaining jobs to our state. This will be a major boon to New Jersey workers, but we must ensure they have the skills and training required for these positions. The Wind Council report includes plans to establish a talent pipeline that provides opportunities for New Jersey workers to work in, and grow with, this new industry.”

“Bringing the offshore wind industry to New Jersey will create opportunities for high-demand jobs for generations of students as they enter the workforce. It is crucial that we provide students with the skills needed for careers in growing industries like this,” Education Commissioner Lamont O. Repollet said. “The Wind Council report is a significant step to inform education programming that can help meet the state’s needs and get students excited about and prepared to work in offshore wind.”

See the full Wind Council report here.