Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D-N.J.) Wind Council released a report yesterday with the plans for creating New Jersey’s Wind Innovation and New Development (WIND) Institute, according to a press release. The purpose of the institute is to act as a center for education, research, innovation and workforce training related to offshore wind development in New Jersey, as well as the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region.
Murphy originally established the council in August 2019 and includes representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), the Board of Public Utilities, the Department of Education, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, according to the release.
“Offshore wind is coming to the United States and bringing billions of investment dollars and thousands of jobs along with it,” Murphy said, according to the release. “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to not only grow New Jersey’s economy rapidly, but also to move rapidly toward a clean energy future that puts us on a path to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. The report released (yesterday) 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 took various actions to inform its recommendations, according to the release. This includes the assessment of the state of the offshore wind industry in New Jersey, gap analysis of workforce assets in the state and the facilitation of discussions with a range of stakeholder groups.
Through the information it gathered, it found that it was important for a single entity to coordinate state and industry-wide collaboration to address offshore wind companies’ workforce development needs, according to the release.
The report details multiple recommendations made by the Wind Council for the WIND Institute, according to the release. This includes the recommendations that the WIND Institute be established as an independent authority and should have a physical presence to support in-person collaboration and act as a hub of activity for the region’s 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,” said Tim Sullivan, the chief executive officer of the NJEDA, according to the release. “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 (the coronavirus disease).”