As former region president of Atlantic City Electric and an electrical engineer, I am familiar with the state’s utility and energy industry and I am keenly aware of Gov. Phil Murphy’s aggressive plan to build 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy, clearing the way for New Jersey to be the first state in the nation to build a utility scale offshore wind farm off the coast of Atlantic City.
In my role as a consultant to Ørsted, the world’s largest developer of offshore wind,
I wish to share a few insights about this exciting industry that is heading our way.
Ørsted owns and operates the country’s first offshore wind farm, Block Island Wind farm in Rhode Island. The relatively small-scale project of 30 megawatts generated 300 construction jobs, millions of dollars of investment in local infrastructure and supply chain, the relocation of the headquarters of a major offshore wind developer, and the promise of a new industry for their state.
These results are just a glimpse of what New Jersey stands to gain from the offshore wind industry.
Offshore wind farms employ technicians, construction and manufacturing workers, and a full spectrum of professional services that support these major projects. In the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark and other countries, entire coastal communities that have reeled from decades of decline are now thriving hubs of industry.
Offshore wind development in New Jersey will mean creation of clean renewable energy and jobs. Ørsted anticipates the creation of thousands of construction jobs during Ocean Wind’s two- to three-year build-out, and up to 70 permanent jobs. Ørsted has signed an agreement with the South Jersey Building Trades, furthering the promise of well-paying union jobs for the men and women of our region.
The company will partner with Joseph Jingoli and Sons and use programs that have demonstrated proven results in identifying, training and hiring young people and those out-of-work residents from Atlantic City residents to work on construction jobs and find permanent employment.
The importance of supply chain aspects of offshore wind development in a new market also creates enormous opportunities. The manufacturers of the parts needed to construct offshore wind farms are watching what’s happening here and are discussing plans to make investments in the local economy by building manufacturing hubs in the state and region.
To help small, minority and women-owned businesses get into the offshore wind industry, Ørsted announced its intention to create the Pro-NJ Grantor Fund that will make $15 million available to them as well as support infrastructure resiliency projects in Cape May and Atlantic counties.
Recognizing the importance of educating the next generation of engineers, marine biologists and the like, Ørsted has signed agreements with Rutgers, Rowan and Stockton universities, contributing grants to support research relating to marine life, the environment, engineering and job training.
With these commitments and some of the best wind conditions along the East Coast, the future looks bright for the development of offshore wind in New Jersey.
Vincent Maione, of Shamong, is a former region president of Atlantic City Electric and a consultant to Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind.