Contact: Ed Potosnak
O: (609) 331-9922
C: (732) 991-7574
Environmental Advocates Launch New Jersey Wind Works Campaign to Support Offshore Wind
Launches Grassroots Campaign to Inform, Empower and Mobilize Residents in Support of Offshore Wind Proposals
A group of environmental, business and faith-based advocates launched a public grassroots campaign today to advocate for responsible offshore wind projects and kick-start the state’s transition to clean and renewable sources of energy. The campaign will work in communities across the Jersey Shore to inform the public, especially local communities closest to some of the planned offshore wind installations, on ways they can constructively engage with and support these proposals.
“We are thrilled to announce this campaign to empower New Jerseyans in the effort to bring clean, renewable sources of energy to our state,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, which is leading the campaign. “A vibrant offshore wind industry is critical if we are hoping to curb climate pollution and reduce flooding and sea level rise that threatens the very existence of our Jersey Shore towns. We want to give residents a voice in taking this critical step in building New Jersey’s future and provide a way for them to get involved to advocate for responsible projects that will bring good local jobs, economic development and environmental security to their communities, particularly to low-income communities and families of color.”
The first of several projects proposed off the New Jersey Coast, Ocean Wind aims to build an 1,100-Megawatt wind farm 15 miles off the Cape May County coast to power more than 500,000 New Jersey homes. That’s the equivalent of taking one of New Jersey’s largest power plants offline – permanently. It will dramatically improve air quality in the Garden State which had 46 days of elevated air pollution last year, which worsens asthma and other cardiac and pulmonary conditions.
Another early project, Atlantic Shores, would power 700,000 homes and deliver more than $800 million in economic benefits to New Jersey. The 1,510 Megawatt project would utilize a network of domestic supplies and specialized marine transport vessels and support thousands of local jobs.
The New Jersey Wind Works campaign will advocate to ensure that these projects serve as ladders of opportunity for traditionally disadvantaged communities, particularly women, low-income families and communities of color.
The Atlantic Ocean offers New Jersey a major source of previously untapped wind flow, a clean and renewable source of energy that will allow the state’s residents to have energy needs met in safe, reliable, and sustainable ways.
The campaign comes even as the 2021 hurricane season hit New Jersey hard. Hurricanes Henri and Ida forced residents from their homes and caused flooding and damage that impacted families, businesses, and our state’s critical infrastructure. These types of storms are becoming both more severe and more frequent because of climate change, and supporting a growing offshore industry is one of the best ways New Jersey residents can do to respond to these growing threats.
“2021 will be remembered as the year when New Jersey stood together and took the courageous steps we needed to remake our energy infrastructure so that it serves all of us,” said Patty Cronheim, Campaign Director for New Jersey LCV. “We are already hearing from supporters across New Jersey and up and down the coast that now is the time to fight for clean, renewable energy sources so we can all breathe easier.”
The campaign consists of more than 10 partners across New Jersey.
"New Jersey Audubon has long been an advocate for responsible offshore wind," said Eileen Murphy, Vice President for Government Relations at New Jersey Audubon. "We know the devastation that climate change is already causing on bird populations and critical bird habitats. Offshore wind, done properly, poses minimal risks to wildlife. We look forward to working with this campaign to advance the cause of offshore wind so that New Jersey can be a national leader in the green energy transition."
”The New Jersey Wind Works campaign is important for ACJA since its responsible development of offshore wind energy will benefit Latino and communities of color in the transition from a fossil fuel based economy,” said Maria Santiago Valentin, Founding President of Atlantic Climate Justice Alliance. “Our families once well informed will embrace these changes. Families in overburdened neighborhoods as well as Latino homeowners and Latino business owners in overburdened communities are ready for the change and our elected officials need to know we support this campaign.”
“Offshore wind is vital to our state’s transition to clean, renewable energy,” said Sue Altman, New Jersey Working Families State Director. “We need to realize the power of offshore wind to preserve our Jersey Shore communities at risk of flooding and sea level rise while also promoting equitable economic growth by expanding opportunities for traditionally disadvantaged communities to find jobs in offshore wind.”
New Jersey is poised to become a leader for the nation’s offshore wind energy transition away from polluting fossil fuels. Facilities, like the Wind Port, in New Jersey will assist in the manufacturing and installation of wind projects along the East Coast, providing year-round employment for the region. At the same time, the wind development companies have pledged millions of dollars to help local businesses benefit from wind energy, strengthening Main streets across South Jersey.
"New Jersey has a historic opportunity to lead the way in building a 21st century green economy by moving aggressively to realize the transformative power of offshore wind," said Richard Lawton, Executive Director of the New Jersey Sustainable Business Council. "We're proud to join this campaign to advocate for the good-paying jobs and growth in local and small businesses that will come as we expand this burgeoning industry and double down on policies that make our state's economy stronger."
“Dirty energy is not sustainable; it is killing us, our neighbors and our children,” said Blair Nelson, Executive Director of Waterspirit. “For too long, overburdened communities have suffered the cumulative impacts (physical, emotional, and mental health) of emissions and byproducts from heavily polluting industries with no end in sight. Now is the time to be honest about our past by moving forward together as we envision the potential for a renewable energy economy in New Jersey. In New Jersey, we must create unionized workforce opportunities for a green economy through wind. We have the tools at our disposable to implement wind power in eco-conscious and equitable ways, and our children’s future depends upon us moving forward with these projects now.”
“The Pinelands, along with our state's other priceless natural resources, are already seeing the impact of climate change as it damages fragile ecosystems and threatens plants and wildlife," said Jaclyn Rhoads, Assistant Executive Director of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance. "The New Jersey Wind Works campaign will allow us to advocate for a key component in New Jersey's clean energy transition. The science shows us that we are running out of time to curb climate harmful pollution and avert a climate catastrophe. We need to move forward with responsible offshore wind that is properly located and limits environmental impacts."
"We need offshore wind to help ward off some of the worst impacts of climate change," said Eric Miller, Director of New Jersey Energy Policy at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). "Providing clean electricity to New Jersey residents means we can get rid of dirty fossil fuel plants, which are often located within disadvantaged communities."
“Offshore wind development is a critical component of meeting our state’s clean energy goals,” said Tom Gilbert, campaign director for ReThink Energy NJ and New Jersey Conservation Foundation. “Coastal and inland communities in New Jersey are increasingly facing life-threatening flooding and extreme weather resulting from climate change, so it’s more important than ever that we support well-sited wind energy projects that will help us transition away from the burning of fossil fuels that is causing climate change.”
“As a company that is committed to building the clean energy supply chain and promoting ‘Look local first’ for New Jersey businesses and workers and explaining the many benefits of offshore wind energy to the New Jersey business community, labor groups and the public, we are pleased to support this campaign as a member of the New Jersey Wind Works coalition,” said William O’Hearn, Executive Vice President of Offshore Power LLC. “We look forward to spreading the good news about offshore wind and helping New Jersey achieve its ambitious goals for cleaner air and a healthier ocean, while generating thousands of good blue and white collar jobs.”
“Environmental Commissioners are increasingly witnessing the devastating impacts of climate change on New Jersey communities. Wind energy is critical to reducing carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions so that we can keep climate crisis impacts from escalating exponentially," said Jennifer Coffey, Executive Director of the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC). "ANJEC is proud to be a member of the New Jersey Wind Works coalition to support the responsible development of offshore wind."
“New Jersey Wind Works will empower local communities to have a voice in creating a prosperous future with clean energy,” said Potosnak.
To find out more about the campaign, visit www.newjerseywindworks.com.