McKee Administration Releases Plan Recommendations for Offshore Wind Jobs

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02-Oct-2023

[By: Rhode Island Commerce]

Building on more than a decade of leadership in the fast-growing offshore wind industry, the McKee Administration today released details on the development of Rhode Island’s strategic plan to further develop the state’s offshore wind supply chain. 

Prepared by Providence-based consulting firm OSWind Partners in conjunction with the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation (Commerce), Rhode Island’s “Strategic Plan for Offshore Wind Jobs and Investment” was developed following an extensive review of global industry demands and current and upcoming U.S. offshore wind projects, as well as an audit of Rhode Island’s existing offshore wind supply chain, physical assets, workforce development programs and more. The goal of this strategic plan is to integrate stakeholders at every level of the industry to create opportunities for Rhode Island companies and workers to significantly contribute on offshore wind projects in development along the east coast.  

“Rhode Island has proudly served at the forefront of this exciting, job-creating sector for more than a decade, and we have the tools, infrastructure, and workforce we need to build on this momentum in the future,” said Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee. “This strategic plan provides a path to amplify the deep Rhode Island offshore wind resources and coordinate groups across the state to provide industry solutions throughout the wind farm lifecycle.” 

The release of the early, core recommendations of this strategic plan comes as Rhode Island Energy, the state’s leading energy utility, prepares to issue a Request for Proposals to solicit approximately 1,200 megawatts of new offshore wind power to strengthen New England’s regional grid and help Rhode Island advance its clean energy goals.  

“Developing clean energy sources is of paramount importance, not only for environmental reasons, but for economic and social reasons as we work towards a more sustainable and prosperous future,” said Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Liz Tanner. “We look forward to continuing to work with our colleagues and partners across the offshore wind industry as we implement this strategic plan in a way that creates jobs and opportunities for Rhode Islanders.”    

The strategic plan includes six core recommendations: 

  1. Cluster Development: Aim to amplify the state’s industry strengths and create connections between locally based businesses, specifically targeting companies specializing in Permitting and Ocean Science, Logistics, Operations & Maintenance, and Precision Manufacturing.
  2. Education Awareness: Take proactive steps to engage local companies that have the capability and capacity to contribute to the offshore wind supply chain and connect them with opportunities up and down the east coast.
  3. Coordination: Ensure that all developers, manufacturers and top-tier offshore wind companies are aware of and can easily access Rhode Island’s assets, resources and talent as they embark on new projects and look for best in class solutions and partnerships.
  4. Opportunity Awareness System: Invest in a new, web-based portal through which contractors can easily find, evaluate and engage with Rhode Island companies to support project workflows at all phases of a wind farm life cycle.
  5. Regional Leadership: Work with neighboring states to share resources and best practices to create efficiency and cost savings as new projects are approved and constructed.
  6. Communications: Clearly communicate Rhode Island’s offshore wind strengths both internally and externally to build the state’s ecosystem and respond to the changing demands of the industry.  

An executive summary of Rhode Island’s Strategic Plan for Offshore Wind Jobs and Investment is available online by clicking here. Commerce is planning regular meetings with industry stakeholders with the goal of finalizing an implementation timeline in the coming months. 

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