Veteran New Jersey strategist Paulina Banasiak O’Connor tapped to lead the new consortium of New Jersey offshore wind leaseholders and regional clean energy organization MAREC Action 

TRENTON, NJ—New Jersey’s offshore wind leaseholders and MAREC Action, a regional non-profit clean energy advocacy organization, today announced the founding of a new advocacy project, the “New Jersey Offshore Wind Alliance.” The Alliance, or NJOWA (pronounced “enjay-owah”) for short, is being established out of a recognition that the state of New Jersey’s commitment to the future of offshore wind deserves a dedicated and responsive advocate to speak for industry both in Trenton and in communities across the state.

The NJOWA will create a single, New Jersey-focused, voice for offshore wind developers active in the state, working to build stronger ties with stakeholders and communities while advocating for policies that deliver more clean, reliable energy to consumers and more offshore wind related jobs & economic development to the Garden State.

Leading the NJOWA will be Paulina Banasiak O’Connor, former Director of Legislative Affairs for Governor Phil Murphy and more recently a lobbyist for The Zita Group. Paulina comes with a unique qualification of legislative, executive, and private sector experience. Her background includes work on infrastructure, energy, and environmental issues for Governor Murphy and representing renewable energy clients as a lobbyist.

“Governor Murphy set ambitious offshore wind and clean energy targets for New Jersey. I am excited to help in the renewable energy transition and work with the offshore wind industry to ensure sustainability, resulting in economic, public health, and environmental benefits for the state,” said Paulina Banasiak O’Connor, Executive Director of NJOWA.

“It’s fitting that the New Jersey Offshore Wind Alliance, long in the making, could be announced in the same month as the winners of New Jersey’s third offshore wind solicitation,” said Evan Vaughan, Executive Director of MAREC Action. “New Jersey has opened an exciting new chapter for the offshore wind industry and we’re more committed than ever to help write it. I’m delighted and honored that Paulina, driven and skilled as she is, agreed to take the helm of this new effort.”

“New Jersey has been a leader in growing the offshore wind industry, and the New Jersey Offshore Wind Alliance will now serve as the voice of this new industry and the clean power and family-sustaining jobs it can bring to the Garden State. We sincerely hope the State of New Jersey and this new Alliance can work together to make great things happen,” said Anne Reynolds, Vice President, Offshore Wind, for the American Clean Power Association.

The NJOWA is made possible entirely through private funds contributed by the active offshore wind developers with leaseholding interests off the coast of New Jersey and in the New York Bight, as well as through financial and in-kind contributions from the non-profit organizations MAREC Action (informally, “Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition”) and the American Clean Power Association. The founding contributors and offshore wind development companies supporting NJOWA are Atlantic Shores, Attentive Energy, Bluepoint Wind, Equinor, Invenergy, RWE, and Vineyard Wind. These businesses and non-profit organizations will also form a steering committee to direct the NJOWA, which is a project of MAREC Action and not a distinct legal entity.

What others are saying:

“The development of offshore wind projects not only strengthens our energy independence but also creates new jobs, fosters economic growth, and positions New Jersey as a leader in the clean energy revolution. South Jersey is poised to feel the impact of the industry deeply. I commend the efforts of the New Jersey Offshore Wind Alliance and look forward to working together to empower the residents of the Third Legislative District,” said Senator John Burzichelli (D-LD3).

“The strongest potential to meet New Jersey’s climate goals is to harness the power of offshore wind off the Jersey Shore. As other states start to move forward with offshore wind projects, it is critical that New Jersey captures the moment to move forward with responsibly developed offshore wind. Right out of the gate, NJ OWA will be a key player in moving forward with the vision of the Murphy Administration’s ambitious offshore wind goals,” said Doug O’Malley, Director of Environment New Jersey.

“We look forward to working with the New Jersey Offshore Wind Alliance,” said William Mullen, President of the New Jersey Building and Construction Trades Council.  “We commend the group’s founding members for establishing a framework for success in preserving and promoting New Jersey’s offshore industry. The skilled and hardworking union construction industry looks forward to continuing our partnership with New Jersey‘s offshore industry to expand thousands of career opportunities for our members to flourish in the energy transition and bring more people into the middle class.”

“The advancement of offshore wind energy represents a hope for a sustainable future. Embracing this clean and renewable resource not only cleans up New Jersey’s air and saves lives, but also creates good local jobs and energy independence. I commend the group on its formation and look forward to the collaboration with the environmental community, the NJ Wind Works Coalition, and NJ OWA.” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director of New Jersey LCV.

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MAREC Action (MAREC informally stands for “Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition”) is a 501.c4 non-profit dedicated to the growth of renewable energy technologies that improve our environment, diversify our electricity generation portfolio, and boost economic development in the PJM grid region. Our mission is to improve and enhance the opportunities for renewable energy development in ten jurisdictions in the PJM region in and around the Mid-Atlantic, specifically:  Delaware, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.  We provide education and expertise on the economic benefits and environmental sustainability of wind and solar energy; offer technical expertise and advice on operating and integrating wind and solar into the electrical power system; and promote fair policies, rules and regulations to expand the region’s electric transmission system to accommodate the growth of renewable energy usage.

The American Clean Power Association (ACP) is the leading voice of today’s multi-tech clean energy industry, representing over 800 energy storage, wind, utility-scale solar, clean hydrogen and transmission companies. ACP is committed to meeting America’s national security, economic and climate goals with fast-growing, low-cost, and reliable domestic power.