Community Offshore Wind’s bid proposal to BPU is heavy on economic benefits — and innovation

Firm, which says proposal will be worth $6B in economic benefits, plans partnership with Newark-based HAX, too

Community Offshore Wind’s offshore wind bid Friday to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities includes an aim to provide up to 1.3 gigawatts of new offshore wind capacity to New Jersey — or enough energy to power more than 500,000 homes.

The company, a joint venture between German-based RWE and New York City-based National Grid Ventures, said the benefits of its bid to the state economy are even greater.

Community Offshore Wind officials said their bid will infuse an estimated $6 billion in economic benefits for New Jersey through programs to build an offshore wind workforce and supply chain. And, they note, it comes with significant experience.

Doug Perkins, president and project director, said the bid has the potential to transform New Jersey into a nation-leading clean energy development, training and manufacturing hub.

“As the second-largest developer of offshore wind globally, RWE will leverage our longstanding expertise to maximize this project’s benefits to every worker, family and business in New Jersey,” he said. “Our proposal is designed from start to finish to ensure this energy transition lifts up communities across the state and creates opportunity for all.”

About National Grid and RWE

National Grid and its legacy companies have operated in the Northeast for more than 125 years, and now serve the needs of more than 20 million people. National Grid Ventures brings local expertise and experience developing large-scale infrastructure projects across the U.S. and U.K.

RWE is one of the largest offshore wind companies globally, and its unparalleled expertise over the last 20 years has resulted in 19 offshore wind farms in operation. In addition, RWE has secured rights to one of the first commercial scale floating wind projects off the coast of northern California and is a leading renewable developer in the U.S., with 8 gigawatts of onshore wind, solar and storage capacity.

Those opportunities include efforts geared toward companies creating the technologies of the future.

Company officials said they are ready to commit significant new funding for HAX, the Newark-based venture capital firm, to foster the next wave of climate and clean energy innovation by local, cutting-edge startups. This partnership, officials said, will ensure the state remains a hub for innovation and help build the companies and industries needed to support a more resilient, climate-conscious economy, fueled by clean energy.

Duncan Turner, the managing director of HAX (and a partner at its parent, SOSV) said the impact could be great.

“SOSV’s HAX strategic partnership with Community Offshore Wind will accelerate innovation in the booming clean-energy sector, where there is plenty of room for new technology to scale this vital part of the new energy infrastructure,” he said. “We are looking to source and invest in startups dedicated to achieving decarbonization and fostering economic development in the New Jersey region. We are proud to collaborate with Community Offshore Wind and anticipate the rapid growth and success of the startups that emerge from this initiative.”

In February 2022, Community Offshore Wind was successful in acquiring its lease area (roughly 126,000 acres) in the New York Bight, the area between New Jersey and Long Island, with a potential capacity of over 3 GW of offshore wind. The proposed area for the turbines is approximately 40 miles off the coast.

The BPU said it received four bids for its third offshore wind solicitation (bids were due at 5 p.m. Friday) and that it intends to make a decision in the first quarter of 2024.

Among other benefits listed by the company:

Building an equitable and accessible clean energy future

  • The proposal aims to create more than 1,700 good-paying jobs in New Jersey over the life of the project, prioritizing programs for union labor and workers from overburdened communities.
  • Investment in the offshore wind workforce to access reduced-cost transportation and child care services. The services will be available to all offshore wind workers and trainees in New Jersey — even those not working with Community Offshore Wind — ensuring parents and workers from communities with limited public transportation or child care resources will still have equitable access to new clean energy jobs.

Educating, training and supporting tomorrow’s workforce

  • A five-year investment in the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps, including funding for Newark, Trenton and Salem city, creating paid job training, job placement and post-placement support, with funding for 1,500 direct, full-time positions. This is in addition to the 1,700 jobs created by Community Offshore Wind’s project.
  • A memorandum of understanding with the New Jersey AFL-CIO to negotiate a Labor Harmony Agreement to support the project once it is selected. This provides a pathway for workers to unionize in various phases of the project.

Creating an offshore wind supply chain in New Jersey

  • Investment in New Jersey-based fabrication suppliers and local companies to open new manufacturing facilities and expand existing sites for the production of major steel fabricated components.
  • A partnership with a women-owned business enterprise in New Jersey to manufacture a support vessel to deploy, dispatch and collect technicians for operations and maintenance activities.
  • A commitment to purchase a portion of all in-state goods and services from minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses.

Community Offshore Wind officials forecast that the project will reduce New Jersey’s electric system greenhouse gas emissions by 52 million tons over the project lifetime (equivalent to taking over 11 million cars off the road) and marks a significant leap toward the state’s goal of bringing 11 GW of offshore wind online by 2040.

Pat Johnson, vice president and deputy project director for Community Offshore Wind, said the company is ready to go.

“The Northeast is National Grid’s home, and our longstanding experience delivering safe, reliable and efficient power to millions of homes across the region makes National Grid Ventures and RWE the perfect partners to New Jersey as the state embraces renewable energy and continues building its offshore wind capacity,” he said.