By Ramona du Houx

Biggest Investment in Salem County in a Generation, With the Potential to Create Up to 1,500 Jobs and $500 Million in Economic Activity  

Governor Phil Murphy joined U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, Senate President Stephen Sweeney, President of the New Jersey State Building & Construction Trades Council Bill Mullen, AECOM Tishman Community Relations Director Flora Ramos, elected officials, union leaders, environmental advocates, private sector partners, and representatives of the offshore wind industry for the groundbreaking of the New Jersey Wind Port, on September 9, 2021.

“Investing in offshore wind is vital to building a stronger, greener economy that creates high-paying jobs to support a robust recovery from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and paves the way for long-term, equitable growth,” said Governor Murphy. “The New Jersey Wind Port will create thousands of high-quality jobs, bring millions of investment dollars to our state, and establish New Jersey as the national capital of offshore wind.” 

This will be a first-in-the-nation infrastructure investment project that will provide a location for essential staging, assembly, and manufacturing activities related to offshore wind projects on the East Coast.

“The New Jersey Wind Port represents the kind of technological innovation, broad-based partnership, and bold investment that we need to meet the climate challenge and create good jobs and an inclusive workforce in our country,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “This project and the good jobs that come with it serves as an important model for future infrastructure investments in this country.”

In addition to the groundbreaking ceremony, the event also included the signing of a project labor agreement (PLA) for the project between AECOM-Tishman and the United Building Trades Council of Southern New Jersey AFL-CIO.

“Today’s groundbreaking represents the first step in a new era of economic development and job growth in South Jersey, with the ability to produce economic benefits for generations to come,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney. “Wind energy is our future – it’s clean, it’s safe, and it offers the opportunity for New Jersey to be a dominant leader in creating a new sector for our nation’s economy. Bringing offshore wind manufacturing to New Jersey is key to making the state a hub of the supply chain for wind energy products and services. The collaboration between the public and private sectors to get this done is a powerful reminder of what we have to do to create economic opportunities and what we can do to promote offshore wind energy.”

The largest economic investment in Salem County in decades, the New Jersey Wind Port has the potential to create up to 1,500 manufacturing, assembly, and operations jobs, as well as hundreds of union construction jobs in New Jersey.

“The urgency of clean, renewable energy has not been greater than it is in this moment,” said Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin. “Turning New Jersey into the hub of our nation’s offshore wind industry, this groundbreaking marks the beginning of a more resilient environmental and economic future for us all, delivering on our state’s promise to be a bold and ambitious leader and innovator.”

Manufacturing and marshaling projects supported by the Wind Port will drive economic growth in Salem County, in South Jersey, and throughout the state. Through the PLA signed today, the Murphy Administration has delivered on its commitment to use union labor to construct the Wind Port while setting a new standard for inclusion of minority and women workers and business owners.

“As New Jersey redoubles its efforts to reduce climate pollution and increase our State’s resilience to climate risks, we have the opportunity to build new and greener industries and the family-sustaining jobs that come with them,” said Shawn M. LaTourette, Commissioner of Environmental Protection and Co-Chair of Governor Murphy’s Council on the Green Economy. “The New Jersey Wind Port will stand as an example of New Jersey’s commitment to building a greener, more sustainable future that provides new economic opportunity for residents as we protect our environment and one another from the risks of climate change. I am proud of the role the Department of Environmental Protection has played in ensuring the responsible development of this project, and I look forward to many more like it in the years ahead.”

Offshore wind is a central component of the State’s Energy Master Plan to achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2050. As part of that plan, New Jersey has committed to producing 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2035.

“The most immediate impact the New Jersey Wind Port will have on Governor Murphy’s vision for a stronger, fairer economy is to create hundreds of new jobs that are accessible to all New Jerseyans,” said New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “Equally important is the long-term significance of this marquis project in establishing New Jersey as the epicenter of the offshore wind industry on the East Coast. The State’s commitment to clean energy guarantees workers will earn family sustaining wages and benefits, and that every dollar spent will support training for our future workforce.”

Offshore wind projects slated for development along the East Coast are expected to require more than $150 billion of capital investment by 2035, and the American offshore wind industry is projected to create more than 83,000 jobs, mostly along the Northeast corridor. New Jersey’s location at the heart of the East Coast wind belt, commitment to supporting offshore wind, and diverse and highly skilled workforce put the state in a strong position to capitalize on this opportunity. 

“South Jersey is becoming the hub of wind energy – meeting the challenge of climate change head-on. Tropical Storm Ida tragically underscored just how urgent the need for climate action is,” said Congressman Donald Norcross. “The Alloway Wind Port will create good-paying union jobs and help revitalize local economies. It will secure America’s energy independence while also making our grid more resilient. And we’re only just starting to build back better. The bipartisan infrastructure bill includes once-in-a-generation investments in clean energy technologies that will benefit New Jersey and the nation, creating good-paying jobs, improving our environment, and bringing our nation’s infrastructure in the 21st century.”

In June, Governor Murphy signed the Fiscal Year 2022 state budget, which included $200 million allocated for the development of the New Jersey Wind Port; this is in addition to $13 million from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and $44 million in partnership with New Jersey Department of Transportation for dredging. In July, the NJEDA announced AECOM-Tishman as the Construction Manager (CM) for the project. 

“Today’s groundbreaking of the New Jersey Wind Port represents a major step forward for the offshore wind industry in the United States and a transformational moment for New Jersey’s clean energy future,” said Jane Cohen, Executive Director, Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy. “The New Jersey Wind Port demonstrates that we do not have to choose between addressing climate change and creating jobs. Combatting climate change is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to develop economic growth, strengthen our workforce, and create family sustaining union jobs for all New Jerseyans who want to be in involved in the green economy.”

Construction of the New Jersey Wind Port will create hundreds of jobs. In line with the State’s commitment to construct the New Jersey Wind Port using union labor, the groundbreaking event included the signing of a project labor agreement (PLA) between AECOM-Tishman and the United Building Trades Council of Southern New Jersey AFL-CIO. The State is also committed to setting a new standard for inclusion of women- and minority-owned businesses during construction of the New Jersey Wind Port. The NJEDA is working with AECOM-Tishman to ensure at least 25 percent of subcontractors for the port construction are small businesses and at least 15 percent are women-, minority-, or veteran- owned. The project also includes worker diversity goals of 18 percent people of color and 6.9 percent women.

“Today we enter an exciting new chapter in the story of New Jersey’s clean energy economy. The New Jersey Wind Port is a visionary project and AECOM Tishman is proud and honored to be entrusted by the state of New Jersey with the responsibility for its construction,” said Flora Ramos, Director, Community Relations of AECOM Tishman. “As per the PLA signed today, this project will create hundreds of union construction jobs over the next two years. We will continue to work closely with the NJEDA to ensure we meet Governor Murphy’s goals for diversity and inclusion throughout the construction process.”

The New Jersey Wind Port will be located on an artificial island on the eastern shores of the Delaware River, southwest of the City of Salem. The site was selected in June 2020 after a 22-month assessment process, including engagement with industry, government, and environmental stakeholders and the NJEDA has been preparing site and finalizing design since summer 2020. It is more than five miles from the nearest New Jersey residential area and provides ample space to grow operations over time.

“Today, New Jersey has become the nation’s leader in offshore wind energy which will provide a win-win situation for the Garden State’s economy, the environment, and the highly skilled, union building and construction trades industry,” said Bill Mullen, an ironworker and President of the NJ Building and Construction Trades Council.  “Wind energy will usher in a new age in the State providing a much-needed shot of adrenaline into the region that will create thousands of family-supporting union construction and manufacturing jobs.”

Long term, the New Jersey Wind Port has the potential for over 150 acres of manufacturing parcels and hundreds of manufacturing jobs. Several potential tenants have already expressed interest in the site, including Ørsted and Atlantic Shores through their winning bids in NJBPU’s recent offshore wind power solicitation.  Both offshore wind developers indicated they intend to build their projects at the Wind Port.  The winning bids also included proposals to partner with turbine manufactures GE and Vestas to build nacelle assembly facilities at the port.  The NJEDA will be launching an additional tenant selection process in the coming weeks to negotiate agreements with these potential tenants.

“On behalf of the Building Trades, I want to thank Governor Murphy and his administration for making the New Jersey Wind Port a reality,” said Dan Cosner, Business Manager of IBEW Local 351 and President of Southern NJ Building Trades Council. “As working families struggle to recover from the economic impact of COVID-19, the jobs this project creates will allow South Jersey to continue to thrive while also helping with meeting the Governor’s clean energy goals. I am proud to sign the PLA today on behalf of the South Jersey Building Trades and IBEW Local 351 and look forward to getting to work building this critical infrastructure project.”

Earthworks will begin on-site in the coming weeks and major construction is due to start in December 2021 with the goal of opening the port in winter 2023/2024.