Contact: Ed Potosnak
O: (609) 331-9922
C: (732) 991-7574
At a time when COVID-19 is ravaging our health and economy – with particularly disastrous impacts on communities of color – the New Jersey Wind Port is a crucial project that will contribute to our economic recovery while paving the way for a more equitable and sustainable green jobs and a 21st century economy.
A wave of offshore wind projects that will result in more than 25 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind generation capacity that could power approximately 10 million homes is slated for development along the East Coast over the next decade, but there are few port facilities that meet the industry’s unique needs. Current models of offshore wind turbines are nearly as large as the Eiffel Tower and weigh thousands of tons, and it’s likely they will only continue increasing in size as companies develop new technology. Transporting and assembling these structures requires access to ports that are large and have unimpeded access to the Atlantic Ocean, but virtually all existing East Coast ports are constrained by bridges or other barriers.
New Jersey is an attractive location for offshore wind projects: it is at the heart of the East Coast wind belt, our state is committed to advancing offshore wind, and the Garden State has a diverse and highly skilled workforce. Given this context, the New Jersey Wind Port is the final piece of the puzzle that will solidify New Jersey’s place as the East Coast hub for the global offshore wind industry. By filling the industry’s unmet need for purpose-built infrastructure, the Wind Port will greatly increase New Jersey’s capacity to generate clean energy. It will also drive half-a-billion dollars in economic activity each year, creating opportunities for businesses in the offshore wind supply chain and good local jobs for workers in the construction, manufacturing, port operations, and engineering industries.
The New Jersey Wind Port is particularly well-timed as we struggle to mitigate the public health risks posed by COVID-19 and grapple with the economic devastation the pandemic has caused. Recent New York Times analysis of Center for Disease Control data has shown COVID-19 is disproportionately harming people of color, in large part because they live in communities with high concentrations of dangerous emissions from dirty energy sources that cause long-term lung damage. At the same time, economic data clearly shows the COVID-19 recession has had a disproportionate impact on minority-, women-, and LGBTQ-owned businesses, many of which were already disadvantaged because of historic unequal access to capital and opportunities.
The Wind Port will address both of these problems by reducing New Jersey’s reliance on dirty energy sources and creating safe, accessible employment opportunities for folks in underserved communities.
According to the Brookings Institute, workers in clean energy earn higher wages, about 82% higher than workers in other industries, have lower barriers to entry, and fuel small businesses. One of New Jersey’s fastest-growing jobs sectors is clean energy, with over 52,000 people working in just energy efficiency alone. More than 60% of all energy efficiency jobs are in construction, and 97% of energy efficiency firms employ fewer than 99 employees, with the vast majority employing fewer than 20 employees. Advancing our clean energy economy must be a priority. Investing in clean energy and other green sectors will create more jobs and make our communities healthier and safer places to live. The New Jersey Wind Port does just that.
The New Jersey Wind Port’s environmental and economic impacts are each a cause for celebration. That the project is happening during COVID-19 gives us hope during a time that’s been so dark for so many, and is a clear testament to the Murphy Administration’s commitment to building a stronger, fairer, greener New Jersey future.