By William O’Hearn, Business Network for Offshore Wind
On April 5, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJ BPU) and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJ EDA) hosted a roundtable meeting on New Jersey Ports and Harbors in Newark. This meeting was part of a series of roundtables designed to pull in feedback from key stakeholders that will be rolled into the NJ Offshore Wind Strategic Plan (OWSP), which will be released later this year.
After introductory remarks from NJ BPU and NJ EDA, a moderator took the group of developers, port and shipyard owners, labor groups, environmentalists, commercial fishermen, business leaders and others through a list of questions, including how the offshore wind supply chain strategy would drive port development and selection, and conversely how the availability of ports would determine supply chain strategy and logistics.
The session’s questions covered a wide range of topics over a two and a half hour discussion, including the overall readiness of New Jersey ports and infrastructure for offshore wind, which ports are best suited for which aspects of offshore wind manufacturing, assembly and operations and maintenance (O&M), Jones Act-compliant vessels, and the state’s relationship with other ports in other East Coast states.
The OWSP will publish official notes on the meeting, but one highlight was a consensus that the U.S. does not have “superports” like Bremerhaven and others in Europe because of space limits and competing industry constraints, so we will need to take a multi-port, multi-state approach that relies on consistent communication, cooperation and logistics to support the offshore wind industry on the East Coast. That said, a number of potential New Jersey ports expressed their readiness and strong interest in participating in this new business opportunity.