N.J. awards $6 million for offshore wind, clean energy projects

wind farm offshore

(Heribert Proepper/AP Photo)

New Jersey is spending almost $6 million to train workers for jobs in the wind energy industry and to support young companies that deal in clean energy.

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority and the state Board of Public Utilities said Wednesday they have approved two funding agreements.

In the first, the state will provide $4.5 million to support workforce development projects to prepare more New Jersey workers for jobs in offshore wind.

Examples include a competition to develop the first Global Wind Organization safety training program in the Mid-Atlantic region; wind turbine technician training programs; a plan to establish pathways for New Jersey students and workers to enter the offshore wind industry; and seminars about offshore wind job creation for labor unions, high schools, vocational technical schools, colleges, and universities.

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In the second, $1.25 million will be made available to support early-stage, New Jersey-based clean tech companies. The NJEDA plans to use this funding in partnership with the New Jersey Commission on Science Innovation and Technology to develop a grant program to aid local clean tech businesses during the proof-of-concept and prototyping stages.

“Clean energy is the future and positioning New Jersey to lead the way in offshore wind and other clean energy initiatives is crucial not only to growing our state’s economy, but also to creating good jobs and business opportunities for workers and business owners in New Jersey,” said Tim Sullivan, CEO of the state Economic Development Authority.

The Board of Public Utilities also voted to open the application window for the state’s second solicitation of offshore wind capacity. This second solicitation seeks to award between 1,200 and 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind energy, potentially tripling the State’s committed capacity to 3,500 megawatts.

Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration has set a goal of 7,500-megawatt offshore wind generation by 2035, or enough to power more than 3.2 million homes. The governor seeks to have a 100% clean energy state by 2050.

According to New Jersey’s recently-released Energy Master Plan, under one potential scenario to achieve 100% clean energy by 2050, offshore wind will make up approximately 23% of the state’s energy supply.

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Only one offshore wind farm currently exists in the United States: a five-turbine project off the coast of Rhode Island operated by Ørsted.

The Associated Press contributed reporting. 

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