Offshore Wind Gets Support of Over 110 New Jersey Elected Officials

More than 110 (current and former) elected officials from across the US State of New Jersey have signed a letter of support for the responsible development of offshore wind in the state.

The signatories have highlighted that for New Jersey, an average wind farm being considered is estimated to create 4,300 jobs and add USD 702 million to the state economy.

Citing the findings of the Workforce Development Institute, the letter states that 74 different occupations are needed to build an offshore wind farm, which could generate thousands of additional jobs in construction, manufacturing, turbine demonstration, and transmission line projects. 

“While we emerge from the pandemic, better opportunities for higher paying jobs and training in new professions are a must. Our people need us to do more than return to ‘normal.’  In Jersey City we need a job creator like offshore wind that could power skilled employment with training in the various professions the industry needs”, said Jersey City Councilmember Mira Prinz-Arey.

Furthermore, as it has been estimated that without immediate action much of New Jersey’s current coastline would be lost under an 8 feet (almost 2.5 metres) of sea level rise by the end of the century – brining financial losses of up to USD 180 billion – responsible offshore wind development can also mitigate these projected catastrophic consequences while bringing further economic growth, the letter points out.

According to the letter, public support for offshore wind development is growing rapidly in New Jersey, where 82 per cent favour expanding wind energy and 73 per cent believe that offshore wind will impact the environment in a positive way.

The letter has been published a couple of weeks after the state’s Board of Public Utilities (BPU) awarded 1,510 MW of capacity to Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind and 1,148MW to Ocean Wind II – making this the nation’s largest combined award to date.

The new 2.7 GW of offshore wind brings New Jersey’s total planned capacity to over 3.7 GW, almost halfway to Governor Phil Murphy’s goal of 7.5 GW of offshore wind by 2035 and 100 percent clean energy by 2050.

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“New Jersey can lead our nation in developing America’s offshore wind power, which has the potential to meet 90% of total U.S. energy demand by 2050. We’re at the vanguard of a new clean, renewable energy industry that will generate thousands of jobs, create prosperity for our communities, improve our health, and help protect our coastlines”, the letter from the elected officials states.

The New Jersey Chapter of Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPA), an organisation gathering current and former elected officials across the US around the fight against climate change, has also issued a call for more elected officials to join the effort and sign the letter of support.