HARTFORD, CT – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that a multi-faceted proposal to strengthen Connecticut’s offshore wind industry has been awarded $500,000 in round one planning funds from the American Rescue Plan Act’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA).
A coalition – led by Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region (seCTer) and supported by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, as well as other stakeholders – put together the initial proposal. The coalition proposed six projects to support this emerging sector, including diversifying and expanding the supply chain, providing waterfront industrial sites for development, building a green business park, leveraging a replicable workforce development model, supporting blue tech research development, and bringing innovative new products to production.
“The emerging offshore wind industry has the potential to create many good-paying jobs in Connecticut and drive economic growth in towns along our shoreline,” Governor Lamont said. “Our administration is working hard to make Connecticut the center hub of the offshore wind industry in New England. I congratulate seCTer, the Department of Economic and Community Development, and all of our partners for working to secure this competitive grant.”
The EDA received 529 applications from regions in all 50 states and five territories, and a total of 60 finalists were selected in round one. The $500,000 round one funding will allow Connecticut’s coalition to develop a more detailed plan for round two consideration. Funding in round two will range from $25 million to $100 million. Applications for round two are due in March 2022.
“Connecticut has a strong competitive advantage with regard to the burgeoning offshore wind industry, and I am thrilled the EDA has invited us to apply for round two funding,” Department of Economic and Community Development Deputy Commissioner Alexandra Daum said. “This potential funding would be transformative for New London and Bridgeport and the state’s broader offshore wind ecosystem, creating jobs and diversifying our economy over the long-term.”
Paul Whitescarver, seCTer’s executive director, knows the region is ready for the challenge, stating the coalition members are “all ahead full,” referring to his experience as a captain in the U.S. Navy as he put a submarine underway. “What a great path forward for Connecticut and the southeastern region to generate economic development on a regional basis,” Whitescarver said. “This will allow a diversification of our blue economy and its industry partners, and build equitable solutions to job growth.”
“Offshore wind is the future,” Senator Richard Blumenthal said. “This funding is a vital first step in developing southeastern Connecticut as a hub of job growth and job training. I congratulate the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development and seCTer for their success in moving to the next round of funding. I will continue to support their diligent, collaborative efforts to secure full funding to bring this ambitious, climate-friendly project to fruition.”
“Connecticut has a long history of leading on clean energy,” Senator Chris Murphy said. “This funding from the American Rescue Plan is great news for the future of eastern Connecticut’s offshore wind industry and will create good-paying jobs all along the shoreline. I’m glad to see the seCTer team secure this transformative grant from the Department of Commerce.”
“Climate change is one largest existential threats we face as a nation,” Congressman John B. Larson said. “This is a significant and exciting investment provided by the American Rescue Plan in renewable energy that will provide good paying manufacturing jobs. I was proud to vote for the American Rescue Plan for this very reason. This funding will help our communities recover.”
“Congress voted to invest in America’s workforce and supply chain at a level we haven’t seen in generations, and Captain Paul Whitescarver (USN Ret.) and his team at seCTer are going right after it,” Congressman Joe Courtney said. “Their application for up to $100 million in grant funding to boost Connecticut’s wind energy industry and workforce was selected by the U.S. Department of Commerce as one of sixty finalists, from a pool of over 500 in all 50 states. That’s a great achievement for seCTer, and it reflects all the inputs of collaboration we’ve seen in our region these past few years – the work we’re doing on undersea logistics, the investments we’ve made in offshore wind capability, and the regional partnerships we’ve entered into with states like Rhode Island to move forward on offshore wind. Secretary Raimondo and the department are accounting for that sort of preparation when they’re deciding where to place these development grants, and we’ve positioned ourselves well for the investment. Congratulations to Captain Whitescarver, Melinda Wilson, and the entire team at seCTer on being named finalists – I will continue to do all I can to support their application.”
“This funding, provided by Congress through the American Rescue Plan Act, will build the infrastructure for wind energy and create good-paying jobs while doing it,” Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro said. “As the climate crisis worsens, clean energy investments like these are needed now more than ever. Congratulations to Captain Whitescarver and the entire team at seCTer, and I look forward to continued investments in Connecticut’s emerging wind energy sector.”
“This funding provides Connecticut with a tangible way to boost the economy and supply chain,” Congresswoman Jahana Hayes said. “The impact it will have on the Fifth District will be transformative, from the job market to the stakeholders and small businesses in the wind and supply chain industries. This will also add to our growing efforts to tackle climate change and long-term environmental sustainability.”
“Catastrophic and deadly weather events will only continue to worsen unless we face the climate crisis head on,” Congressman Jim Himes said. “Connecticut stands ready to do its part by shifting to wind and other renewable energy sources. Today’s grant announcement is an important step in that direction and, hopefully, just the first of many more to come.”
Taking into consideration the workforce and coastline shared between Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, seCTer’s round one application envisions future collaborations between the three states on any future round two applications. Governor Lamont said that Connecticut looks forward to collaborating across state lines to identify growth opportunities for the regional offshore wind and blue economy sectors.