A Business Network Member Report
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Building the offshore wind supply chain is fundamental to the Business Network’s mission and goal of creating a vibrant, sustainable U.S. offshore wind industry. The Network was pleased to join with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) and the rest of the Offshore Wind Strategic Plan Team to hold the state’s first offshore wind supply chain networking event on November 29th.
The supply chain forum held before a packed house at Princeton University’s Andlinger Center for Energy and Environment provided information about the state’s plans for offshore wind, supply chain opportunities, available incentives, and workforce development programs. The event was co-sponsored by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, Department of Environmental Protection, and Department of Labor and Workforce Development, as well as several offshore wind developers and supporting businesses.
The clear commitment to the offshore industry from NJ BPU, EDA, DEP and LWD, and their close working relationships in support of offshore wind sent a great message to developers, manufacturers and investors that “New Jersey offshore wind is open for business,” as BPU President Fiordaliso stated in his opening remarks.
“The networking and collaboration facilitated here is hugely important as we move forward to implement the Governor’s offshore wind vision, which includes building the supply chain and creating job opportunities,” said Fiordaliso. “In addition to the obvious clean energy benefits as we attempt to combat the impacts of climate change, the scale of the solicitation is designed to attract the offshore wind supply chain to New Jersey and to create new jobs and economic activity, all while reducing greenhouse emissions.”
NJ Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan followed with comments focusing on how the offshore wind solicitation will generate local economic opportunity. “Offshore wind presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for new industry development in the state,” said Sullivan. “The NJEDA and its partners across state government are prepared to help position businesses of all sizes to take advantage of this opportunity.”
Network CEO & President Liz Burdock opened the forum and moderated one panel of state officials on growing the supply chain and a second of offshore wind developers who discussed port redevelopment and job opportunities. One highlight of the state officials panel was NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development Assistant Commissioner Hugh Bailey, who noted the customized training and apprenticeship programs available in high-demand industries like clean energy.
This was followed by a third panel presentation on how supply chain companies could fit into this rapidly growing industry.
The afternoon featured briefings on ‘Offshore Wind 101 and the Emerging US Market’ and ‘Offshore Wind Workforce Development in NJ’ [PLEASE CHECK THIS] but perhaps the highlight of the event was the Speed Networking session where 25 product and service providers pitched 25 developers, manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers for two and a half hours, rotating to another table on a timed schedule to make as many contacts as possible.
“We are really thrilled with the turnout and the amazing energy around this event,” said Liz Burdock. “We thank our hosting partners for their hard work in putting this forum together, and our members for their great turnout and active participation in all of the sessions. This focus on the huge economic opportunities available in our industry is the perfect introduction for the Offshore Wind Strategic Plan shareholder meetings that start next week.”