Attentive Energy investing $10.6M in supply chain, startups to help New Jersey offshore wind

MIDDLETOWN, N.J. (AP) — A company proposing an offshore wind farm in New Jersey is investing $10.6 million in projects to help grow the industry's supply chain and support ocean-based technology startup businesses in the state.

Attentive Energy is one of four projects proposed in New Jersey's most recent round of solicitations for offshore wind projects. It is a collaboration between Houston-based Total Energies, and Corio Generation, with offices in Boston and London.

During an event at Brookdale Community College, Damian Bednarz, the company's president, said Attentive Energy will invest $6.6 million in SeaAhead. That is a company that supports ocean-related technology firms; it will establish a business incubator program in New Jersey.

Attentive Energy will invest another $4 million in technical support for small businesses at 11 regional small business development centers across the state.

A key goal of the company is to localize and diversify the supply chain for the offshore wind industry.

Continuing problems with the offshore wind supply chain was a major factor in Danish offshore wind developer Orsted's decision to scrap its two offshore wind projects in New Jersey last month.

“In New York and New Jersey, you'll always find someone who says, ‘This is great: I have a service for this, I have a business for this,’” Bednarz said.

Boston-based SeaAhead's Blue Angels group has funded 29 startup businesses in the last three years, said Alissa Peterson, its co-founder and CEO.

“We need to create an environment where the best and the brightest choose to solve the hardest problems that we face as a globe,” she said. “And if we’re going to get them to do that, they need to know that the resources are going to be there for them to be successful.”

Attentive Energy is proposing a wind farm 42 miles (65 kilometers) off Seaside Heights that would provide enough energy to power 600,000 homes. It would be among the farthest from shore of the wind farm projects proposed to date on the U.S. East Coast. The distance from the coast would eliminate one of the main objections voiced by opponents of offshore wind, that they don't want to see the wind turbines from the beach.

Without Orsted, New Jersey has only one approved offshore wind project: Atlantic Shores.

That Atlantic City-based venture is a joint partnership between Shell New Energies US LLC and EDF-RE Offshore Development, LLC.

In a related development, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Monday established a go-slow zone for ships off Atlantic City to protect the critically endangered North American right whale. The agency says there are less than 350 of the animals remaining.

Last Friday, an undersea research glider operated by Rutgers University and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution detected the presence of right whales off Atlantic City.

Monday's action by the federal agency asks ships to avoid the area, or travel through it at 10 knots (11 mph or 17 kph) or less of vessel speed. The restriction will run through Dec. 2, and joins similar restrictions in four other areas in the Northeast.


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