Report: State can build green energy economy with equitable workforce

Developing a green energy economy built on sustainability and a commitment to fight climate change is just the start, Gov. Phil Murphy indicated Wednesday.

The Green Jobs for a Sustainable Future report, released by the New Jersey Council on the Green Economy — in partnership with the governor’s Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy — outlines recommendations and pathways for growing a demographically representative and inclusive green workforce, too.

The release of the report — in conjunction with an executive order that increases New Jersey’s offshore wind goal by nearly 50% (to 11,000 megawatts) by 2040 — are intended to show Murphy is all on a green future. Especially when it comes to jobs.

In addition to introducing the council’s report, Murphy also announced the release of an offshore wind jobs analysis and highlighted $10 million in new investments, which will guide and support the state as it prepares to execute a One Year Action Plan designed to generate good-paying jobs in the growing green economy.

Several private sector partners, including Unilever, DSM, Hugo Neu, IKEA, Siemens, United Airlines and Hackensack Meridian Health, committed to supporting these crucial efforts by signing the Corporate Green Jobs Pledge.

Jane Cohen, executive director of the governor’s Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy, said the announcements underscore the administration’s determination to ensure that every New Jerseyan can benefit from the transition to a clean energy economy.

“As we set our sights on even bolder offshore wind targets, we will strive toward the equitable development of a green economy that produces good-paying jobs, wage parity and long-term career opportunities for future generations,” she said.

Robert Asaro-Angelo, commissioner of the Department of Labor & Workforce Development and co-chair of the New Jersey Council on the Green Economy, agreed.

“New Jersey will depend on a highly trained workforce to ensure Gov. Murphy’s energy goals are met as our state positions itself as a national model for renewable energy sectors,” he said.

“The increasing opportunities in the offshore wind and clean energy sectors afford workers of all incomes and backgrounds the prospect of developing specialized, in-demand skills and talents, leading to the clear pathway for advancement and financial success that comes with high-quality, family-sustaining green jobs.”

Tim Sullivan, the CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, said the potential for job growth cannot be overstated.

“Gov. Murphy’s signing of EO 307 serves as a testament to this administration’s promise of a cleaner, safer future for New Jerseyans, accompanied by thousands of good paying, family-sustaining jobs,” he said.

“The Green Jobs for a Sustainable Future report demonstrates that the state is cultivating its offshore wind industry in a thoughtful, methodical manner. By helping to ensure equity and inclusiveness, and through the willingness of private and public leaders to support the growth of this critical sector, we can — and will — secure New Jersey’s leadership in the global offshore wind arena.”

Shawn LaTourette, the commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection and co-chair of the Council on the Green Economy, said the idea is a win-win.

“From the country’s first purpose-built offshore wind port to a nation-leading strategy for improving water infrastructure, New Jersey is demonstrating that strong environmental policy supports and promotes economic growth,” he said. “The Murphy administration’s commitment to improving our environment as we promote growth is creating good-paying jobs, including through our pursuit of a just clean energy transition and clean water for all.

“The council’s inaugural report charts a course for accelerating New Jersey’s green economic growth.”

Kim Hanemann, Public Service Electric & Gas president and chief operating officer, said it’s all about the workforce.

“Preparing for the clean energy transition starts and ends with the workforce — both of today and tomorrow,” she said. “Green jobs are the future of the energy industry, but, to get there, we need robust pathways and engagement across industry, trades and policy-makers.

“The opportunities laid out in the Green Jobs for a Sustainable Future report are vital to expanding access, building skills and ensuring we have a pipeline of exceptional talent, including from nontraditional and underserved communities.”