Governor Phil Murphy
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
Offshore Wind Announcement with Former Vice President Al Gore
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Good morning, everyone!
Thank you, Tammy, for those words and for your long-standing leadership in raising awareness to the reality of climate change and helping us to push back to forge a better future.
There are a lot of people to recognize – not the least of whom is the guy behind me – but I must give quick shout outs to two people who are front and center in today’s announcement – BPU President Joe Fiordaliso and, in absentia, the Commissioner of the DEP, Catherine McCabe.
And, also, thank you to Paul Hoffman and our tremendous hosts here at Liberty Science Center.
I have to say, what a treat it is to have Al Gore back in New Jersey.
He is a dear friend to both Tammy and me. He has been a leader both here in our nation and around the world. He has inspired so many millions of us to take a good look around and realize that what we see we can’t take for granted.
And, perhaps more than anyone, he has helped make very real not only the threat of climate change, but the need for bold actions that will entirely change our course and point us in a more sustainable and, ultimately more prosperous, direction.
So, I’m really proud to have him with us today.
From the beginning of my administration, we’ve worked on the principle that to get New Jersey’s economy right, you need to focus on three key pillars – education, transportation, and energy.
Two weeks after I took office, I signed an executive order – it was my eighth, for those keeping score – recommitting New Jersey to the offshore wind marketplace that was established way back in 2010, but which Governor Christie never got off the ground.
Then, in May 2018, I signed into law our commitment to one of the nation’s most-aggressive clean energy standards – including a goal of 3,500MW of offshore wind energy by 2030, which would be a stepping stone to our overall goal of a 100 percent clean-energy economy by 2050.
In the months since, we have continued to make steady gains toward this goal. We have found many new partners who are as ready as we are to get working – and creating jobs – to get us to that goal.
I look to the decision this past June to award our first 1,100MW solicitation to Orsted as just one in what will be a series of chapters that we will write as we move forward.
Let there be no doubt, we are looking for many more partners. There is still so much work for us to do, and many more tremendous opportunities awaiting along the entire supply chain.
As we move through this journey, we recognize that, quite frankly, we can do more and we can reach higher when we have more people at the table with us.
And, today, we will.
In just a few moments, I will proudly sign an executive order raising our goal from 3,500MW of offshore wind-generated electricity by 2030 … to 7,500MW by 2035.
That’s more than double the output. That’s more investment. That’s more jobs.
That’s more clean energy.
Think about it – when we meet this goal, our offshore winds will generate enough electricity to power more than 3.2 million New Jersey homes. We will meet half of our electric power need. We will generate billions of dollars in investments in our state’s future that will, in turn, generate thousands of union jobs.
Indeed, we are putting ourselves on a steeper curve – but I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t totally confident in our ability to crest this hill. I pledged from the very beginning that New Jersey would be a leader – we are, and then some.
No other renewable energy resource provides us either the electric-generation or economic-growth potential of offshore wind.
Nearly half of our state’s greenhouse gas output stems from our transportation sector – from the cars on our roads and the trucks idling in our ports. We must build the electrification infrastructure necessary to support more electric vehicles.
These are big goals, and tough challenges. But we can achieve them. We are up to them.
New Jersey has always been a state of strivers. There’s no better time than now for us to go “full Jersey.”
I have cited it before, and it bears repeating. Last year, the organization Environmental Entrepreneurs – made up of investors and business leaders -- put it into basic dollars and cents for us.
For every one dollar invested in offshore wind in New Jersey, the economic payback is nearly twice that – providing the highest return on investment of any state in the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic.
This is billions of dollars in new infrastructure, and hundreds of millions of dollars in wages to workers.
We know that our current 3,500MW goal can provide upwards of 4,300 jobs. Imagine what we can do when we dream bigger.
Currently held offshore leases amount to roughly 520,000 acres. And next year we anticipate that more than 700,000 acres will be opened to leasing by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. This gives us a tremendous opportunity to increase our ability to maximize our offshore wind potential.
When I made my first international economic mission to Germany in October of 2018, I sat with leaders in Germany’s wind-energy sector. I made the pitch to them about all the advantages New Jersey holds for the future of this growing industry. Our advantageous location. Our talented people. Our forward-leaning values. Our focus on innovation.
One of those companies, EEW, is now partnering with Orsted on developing the first major U.S.-based offshore-wind manufacturing facility in New Jersey. Another, EnBW, recently opened its first U.S. office, right here in Jersey City.
We’re not just on the map. We’re becoming the starting point for the entire country. In fact, between the Economic Development Authority and our partners at Choose New Jersey, we are currently in discussions with 50-plus different offshore wind and supply chain companies because of our aggressive clean-energy strategy.
Whether by ourselves, or in partnership with New York, which has set its own 9,000MW goal, we have an immense opportunity to maximize our potential and make this region – and, specifically, New Jersey – the nexus of the global offshore wind industry.
Last April, we inaugurated the New Jersey Offshore Wind Supply Chain Registry to bring together investors exploring offshore wind-related projects with New Jersey-based companies to either partner with or purchase from.
In just seven months, more than 460 businesses from across our state, and across our region and the globe, have joined the registry, illustrating the strong appetite for the Garden State’s expanding offshore wind industry.
The Economic Development Authority is also in the process of setting up a new technical assistance program that will support New Jersey-based companies to develop the skills and competencies needed to sell into this multi-billion-dollar supply chain.
Earlier this summer, I created a council of experts to begin designing the New Jersey Wind Institute to position our state as a hub for research, development, and commercialization of new offshore wind technologies and coordinate the education, training, and certifications needed by the thousands of men and women who will make up our offshore wind workforce.
The Wind Institute, new Technical Assistance Programs, and Supply Chain Registry are critical parts of our coordinated effort to become a truly global leader in every aspect of offshore wind energy.
But, we also know we can’t do this if we don’t bring everyone to the table. So, we are already bringing together offshore wind companies and experts with both the commercial and recreational fishing industries, and our friends in the environmental and conservation arena.
We can, and must, get everyone on the same page, because we know when we work responsibly, we can ensure that no one is left behind.
And, through this cooperative work, we can ensure the stability and predictability that has already made us a state that investors look at with confidence. We will continue to move forward with a responsible schedule for new offshore wind solicitations – carefully increasing the amount of generation capacity to keep pace with technological innovation and anticipated market forces that will drive costs down, and protect our important ocean resources and industries in the process.
The science tells us that time is of the essence. At this tipping point in our history, states have never mattered more.
That is why I am putting New Jersey on this path – doubling our commitment to offshore wind power, doubling our commitment to moving away from fossil fuels, and doubling our commitment to achieving a sustainable 100-percent clean-energy economy.
So, here’s my message to the skeptics and the climate deniers, and, it really is this simple – offshore wind is a win for our environment, a win for our economy, and win for our future.
Perhaps no one knows this better than Al Gore.
Across four decades, he has been opening our eyes and minds to the damage we’ve allowed the old ways of doing things to do – not just to our environment, but to our very future.
As a Congressman and United States Senator, as Vice President, as a speaker and activist, as an author and documentary filmmaker, Nobel Prize-winner, and now, as the head of the Climate Reality Project, Al Gore has almost singlehandedly put the issues of sustainability and conservation front-and-center in our national, and international, conversation.
He has inspired countless people to stand up and take action.
And, we are so honored to have him here today to witness us taking this action.
It is my distinct pleasure to introduce a true leader – in every sense of the word – in the fight against global climate change and for smart and sustainable solutions, and our dear friend, Al Gore.