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SOUTH JERSEY GOES GREEN

Atlantic Cape Community College wind training center about to lift off, opening in fall 2022

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ATLANTIC CITY — Offshore wind energy is the first new industry to come to town since casino gaming, and will provide trained workers with lucrative jobs, state and local leaders said Thursday at the groundbreaking of a Wind Training Center here.

The 1,700-square-foot building will go up on what is now a parking lot at Atlantic Cape Community College’s Worthington campus.

“We have to direct students to these high-growth, high-wage careers,” said state Secretary of Higher Education Brian Bridges.

Bridges called the birth of the offshore wind energy industry in New Jersey a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for economic growth.”

The facility, as well as a Sea Survival module at Gardner’s Basin, will be paid for by an almost $3 million state grant.

Atlantic Cape President Barbara Gaba said the new training center is set to open in fall 2022.

“Future offshore wind technicians and other offshore workers from all over the country will travel to Atlantic City to complete their safety training,” Gaba said. “We expect to train more than 1,800 students working in the offshore wind industry within the first year.”

Students will learn how to work safely on the turbines, including at great heights and over water, Gaba said.

The Atlantic Cape Foundation has pledged $25,000 toward scholarships for students enrolled in the Wind Training Center program, she said.

“We often hear about buzzwords and ‘new industries,’ but we never see it,” said Mayor Marty Small Sr. “I’m happy we cannot only see (this industry start), but it’s happening right here in Atlantic City.”

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has awarded three offshore wind projects totaling 3,758 megawatts of energy, said Jim Ferris, bureau chief for New Technology, Clean Energy Division at the BPU.

All three will be based off Atlantic and Cape May counties.

“That’s half of our goal toward 7,500 MW (by 2035),” Ferris said. “It will inject $4.7 billion into the economy.”

The energy that will be produced is enough to power 1.6 million homes, Ferris said.

The college’s Global Wind Organization-certified partners, Arcon Training Center, AIS Training and 3t Energy Group, have been working with Atlantic Cape officials over the past several months to bring this project to fruition, the college said.

Ørsted is developing two of those projects southeast of Atlantic City, which together will generate more than 2,200 MW. Ørsted’s first project, Ocean Wind 1, received approval from the BPU in 2019, and Ocean Wind 2 received BPU approval in June.

Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind also received approval in June to build a 1,510 MW farm off the coast between Long Beach Island and Atlantic City.

There has been some opposition to the construction of offshore wind farms from residents and city leaders in Ocean City and other shore communities, who are concerned the projects will harm tourism and ruin beach views.

The 248-foot tall wind turbines will be located 10-15 miles out in the ocean but will be visible at the horizon line on clear days.

Some fishing industry groups are also concerned about the wind farms’ effect on fish populations and access to them.

There is strong support for offshore wind energy by New Jersey voters, according to a poll released Thursday from Nexus Polling, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication.

Three-quarters of New Jersey voters support expanding offshore wind in the state, the poll found.

The survey of 858 registered voters in New Jersey was conducted Oct. 18-25 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.7%.

REPORTER: Michelle Brunetti Post

609-272-7219

mpost@pressofac.com

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Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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