Opinion: Offshore winds would bring jobs, green energy to New Jersey

February 18, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

By Edward Gant

New Jersey needs more jobs and we need those jobs now. Our state’s employment rates continue to trail behind most of the nation, and according to a December 2013 report by Rutgers University, New Jersey’s economic recovery will be about three years behind the national turnaround.

The 2010 Offshore Wind Economic Development Act was supposed to serve as an economic catalyst by bringing jobs and the green energy industry to New Jersey. However, three years have passed and we have yet to see a project and those benefits come to fruition.

Fishermen’s Energy has a tailor-made project to meet the goals of the act, the Atlantic City Wind Farm. The project is ready to deliver the economic value that wind energy can bring to New Jersey with the nation’s first offshore wind pilot project. This wind farm alone would provide more than $150 million in economic benefits and 400 jobs.

Fishermen’s Energy and its partner, XEMC Manufacturers, are also proposing to build the nation’s first wind turbine manufacturing facility, bringing a new manufacturing industry to New Jersey, and an additional 1,000 jobs and $100 million in economic benefits.

Having one of the first offshore wind programs would position New Jersey as a national leader in developing and manufacturing wind energy technology. Workers in New Jersey would be the first in the nation to be trained to build, operate and maintain these projects. This would bring the skills and expertise necessary to make New Jersey the nation’s hub for offshore wind energy development. It would also create a demand for high-paying jobs in the state.

In addition to providing good-paying, high-skilled jobs, manufacturing also has significant indirect economic benefits by creating jobs in the supply chain and service sector. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, for every dollar spent in manufacturing, an additional $1.48 is added to the economy, which is higher than any other sector.

We need jobs and economic growth in New Jersey now. Our economy is behind the rest of the nation. Offshore wind energy is our opportunity to change that and position New Jersey as a leader in renewable energy.

We urge the Board of Public Utilities to approve the Fisherman’s Energy Atlantic City Wind Farm now.

Edward Gant is business manager and financial secretary for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 351.


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