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Rhode Island Gets Ready 4 Offshore Wind

Funding has just been granted for a project to prepare local businesses to supply services and materials to the OW energy sector.

This week, Rhode Island launched a programme of support for businesses in the state. Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) today announced the award of 12 new partnerships and $1.6 million in implementation grants to expand Real Jobs Rhode Island (Real Jobs RI). The 12 new grantees join Real Jobs RI's expansive network of strategic, employer-led, industry partnerships that develop customised workforce solutions to address the unique personnel challenges of Rhode Island's high-demand and high-wage industries and expand opportunities for Rhode Islanders.

Launched in 2015, the Real Jobs Rhode Island is a federally funded, competitive workforce and economic development grant programme and has trained over 6000 people to date. This new initiative will create a network of over 160 employers and projects throughout the state providing local people with employment and training opportunities in the energy, bioscience, finance and insurance, food processing and manufacturing, healthcare and information technology industries.

Ready 4 Offshore Wind

One of the projects granted funding was Ready 4 Offshore Wind (Ready 4 OSW), led by Business Network for Offshore Wind (BNOW), which will create opportunities for Rhode Island businesses to enter the offshore wind industry, a burgeoning industry in the state, through training and business services. Ready 4 OSW will educate businesses in the Rhode Island's offshore wind sector about the supply chain and the role of their business in project development through BNOW’s proprietary Foundation to Blade training.



Liz Burdock, CEO of BNOW says, “Our primary goal is to create an offshore wind supply chain comprised of local businesses and employing well-trained citizens,” she added. “We envision these strategic partnerships to act as an employer-driven entity that identifies training and workforce development needs as offshore wind projects move through the five phases of development. Our expected outcome is to increase competitiveness to support the continued cost reduction in offshore renewables, while simultaneously securing long-term economic benefits for the state of Rhode Island.”

Supply Chain Bottlenecks

This is an important step forward, looking to avoid the bottlenecks in the supply chain and prepare skilled personnel for employment within the expanding US Offshore Wind Market.  Eoghan Quinn, Global Wind Lead, New Energy of consultants WorleyParsons, who are working with US OW companies says, “When you look at the emerging market of the US, the supply chain is the one thing that’s lacking. People are trying to find their role to play in making this market both viable and realistic. The last 12 months have been interesting because the US are certainly leveraging the European experience.”

Rhode Island has several wind energy projects in various stages of development, totalling 600MW capacity, and it is very good for the sector that the state government is being pro-active in addressing potential issues early on, rather than waiting for projects to reach an advanced stage before these issues are tackled.

All this and more will be discuss at the 4th Annual US Offshore Wind Conference, June 10-11, 2019 in Boston. Find out more here.

By Julian Jackson


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