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As New Jersey emerges as a key player in the U.S. offshore wind industry, a new report by the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NJMEP) assesses state manufacturers’ potential to support large-scale renewable energy projects and spur local economic growth. 

The assessment, released Tuesday by NJMEP in partnership with Attentive Energy Two and the MRV Group, examines the capacity of New Jersey manufacturers to meet the supply chain needs of the offshore wind industry, as well as the gaps that could hinder small and diverse businesses from participating in future offshore wind contracting opportunities. 

The state is targeting 11 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2040, accompanied by significant infrastructure investments. NJMEP’s study identifies opportunities for job creation, retooling, new certifications and building competitiveness across various sectors. 

NJMEP initiated the Offshore Wind Supplier Identification Project (OSW-SIP) in 2021, analyzing over 8,000 components essential for offshore wind turbines, as well as 1,464 local businesses that could supply those parts. The study – encompassing supply chain mapping, surveys, and data analysis – pinpointed key areas for development, including workforce training, equipment upgrades, and additional certifications. 

Key highlights of the assessment include: 

  • 66% of companies required targeted funding for process or technology upgrades, especially crucial for Small, Minority, Woman, or Veteran-owned Business Enterprises (SMWVBEs) lacking resources. 
  • Equipment upgrades costs needed for companies to reposition – ranged from $40,000 to $150,000, while training costs varied from $6,000 to $31,000 per worker. 
  • Strengths and opportunities include existing capabilities, connections with the maritime sector, willingness to upskill, grant funding, and employment opportunities for underserved communities. 
  • Gaps and hurdles include equipment upgrades, lack of OSHA safety training, additional certifications, delayed qualifications, maintaining dialog with buyers, and attracting future workforce. 

The analysis provides context for actionable recommendations on the part of industry, government, and the economic development community. 

“The findings underscore the immense potential for local manufacturers to become integral players in the offshore wind supply chain,” said Peter Connolly, CEO of NJMEP. “However, to capitalize on these opportunities, targeted support and collaboration with industry stakeholders are imperative.” 

“NJBIA has always been supportive of investing in the development of new clean energy resources such as offshore wind as part of a diverse energy portfolio, and we are excited to see research about how New Jersey manufacturers and the entire state economy can best benefit from the growth in New Jersey of this important industry,” said NJBIA President & CEO Michele Siekerka.  

NJBIA is currently partnering with NJMEP on the “Manufacturing Counts” initiative to broaden and strengthen support for manufacturing in the state. 

New Jersey Economic Development Authority Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan said the NJMEP report “confirms what we’ve long known – that the offshore wind industry presents an enormous opportunity for New Jersey manufacturers and business owners.” 

NJMEP’s analysis emphasized the importance of collaboration between manufacturers, suppliers, and local vendors to foster a robust ecosystem conducive to supply chain development. Initiatives such as Attentive Energy Two’s commitments and industry partnerships overall play a vital role in supporting small businesses to enhance their competitiveness and visibility in the market.  

“New Jersey stands at the forefront of a transformative shift towards a clean energy economy,” said Damian Bednarz, Managing Director of Attentive Energy Two. “By empowering local businesses and fostering collaboration today, we can unlock the full potential of the offshore wind sector while driving sustained local economic growth in the future.”  

The report said that ultimately, supply chain development can only be achieved with an “informed ecosystem.”  

“Wind turbine manufacturers and other Tier 1 suppliers in the offshore wind supply chain (e.g., foundations, substations) need to educate the market about their processes and keep vendors informed of incoming opportunities with enough time for them to prepare for those opportunities,” the report said. 

One of the 18 New Jersey manufacturers interviewed, ZAGO Manufacturing, said it stands ready to serve the offshore wind industry in New Jersey. 

“ZAGO sealing fasteners are used in offshore wind projects in Europe and Canada,” said Gail Friedberg Rottenstrich, co-founder & CEO of ZAGO Manufacturing. 

“We are DFARS, REACH, RoHS compliant and ISO 9001: 2015 and WBE (Women Business Enterprise) certified,” Rottenstrich said, “Our sealing fasteners are Made in USA/Buy American Act compliant and manufactured at our headquarters in Newark, New Jersey.” 

About NJMEP 

The New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NJMEP) is a private, not-for-profit organization that improves the profitability and competitiveness of New Jersey’s manufacturers. Backed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), NJMEP enables organizations to enhance their productivity and efficiencies, reduce costs, and improve employee performance. For over 20 years, NJMEP has used its extensive network of connections and proven record of success to help manufacturers adapt to the latest innovative technologies and best practices to realize more than $7.6 billion in value.   

 About Attentive Energy Two 

Attentive Energy Two is an offshore wind project designed to help New Jersey meet its offshore wind targets. Attentive Energy Two is developing a holistic offshore wind project, informed by engagement with hundreds of stakeholders over five years, that will create economic opportunities in all 21 counties. Located approximately 42 miles off the coast of New Jersey, the project is expected to power over 650,000 homes with clean local renewable energy.