New Jersey to Establish Wind Institute

Block Island installation
Block Island Wind Farm installation

Published Apr 25, 2020 11:37 PM by The Maritime Executive

The New Jersey Wind Council established by Governor Phil Murphy has released a report detailing plans for creating the Wind Innovation and New Development (WIND) Institute. 

The WIND Institute will serve as a center for education, research, innovation, and workforce training related to the development of offshore wind in New Jersey and the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region.

“Offshore wind is coming to the United States and bringing billions of investment dollars and thousands of jobs along with it,” said Murphy. “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to not only grow New Jersey’s economy but also move rapidly toward a clean energy future that puts us on a path to 100 percent clean energy by 2050.”

The Wind Council assessed the state of the offshore wind industry in New Jersey, conducted a gap analysis regarding its workforce and met with a range of stakeholder groups, including industry and academia. The council determined that having a single entity focused on coordinating state- and industry-wide collaboration was optimum. 

The report states that while New Jersey starts from a position of strength relative compared to other states, there are gaps that need to be addressed in the short-term including:

• Establish a wind turbine technician occupation in New Jersey – Wind turbine technicians are critical for industry growth and are in demand across the country. For each project, an individual original equipment manufacturer (OEM) requires dozens of wind turbine technicians to support installation and provide efficient turbine maintenance throughout the lifetime of the wind farm. New Jersey will need to train qualified wind turbine technicians to achieve Murphy’s goal of producing 7,500 MW by 2035. 

• Expand the pipeline of trade workers with the skills and qualifications required for offshore wind – As New Jersey’s offshore wind industry matures and the local supply chain becomes more established, demand will continue to increase for trade workers with industry-specific skills and qualifications. 

• Introduce a Global Wind Organization (GWO) Safety Certification – Working in the offshore wind industry requires workers on turbines, including wind turbine technicians, to complete the GWO’s safety training. New Jersey currently does not provide GWO training. 

In June 2019, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) granted the state’s first award for offshore wind to Ørsted’s Ocean Wind 1,100 MW project. Located 15 miles off the coast of Atlantic City, the 1,100 MW offshore wind farm is expected to power roughly 500,000 New Jersey homes and generate $1.17 billion in economic benefits, in addition to creating an estimated 15,000 jobs over the project life.

In March this year, Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind signed an MOU to support clean energy research and educational outreach activities at Montclair State University. Ørsted’s $200,000 contribution will support the University’s Clean Energy and Sustainability Analytics Center (CESAC) and will aid in the advancement of energy research initiatives, as well as the development of educational events, stakeholder engagement activities and STEM programming for elementary, middle and high school students.

Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind delivers clean, renewable energy along the U.S. eastern seaboard. It operates the Block Island Wind Farm, America’s first offshore wind farm, and has been awarded over 2,900 MW of capacity through six projects.

The Wind Council report is available here.