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New London State pier project ‘exactly what our state needs’

The year 2021 is underway, and with the new year, Connecticut’s businesses are seeking new opportunities for relief and growth. As our state’s business community continues to rebuild after COVID-19 shutdowns and a challenging 2020, we must look to new industries, new possibilities, and even new technologies to strengthen Connecticut’s established manufacturing and technology base.

Connecticut’s offshore wind industry is quickly emerging as one of the state’s key industries as further investment goes into additional environmentally friendly, sustainable energy technologies.

With Connecticut seeking clean energy in offshore wind farms, we are experiencing a dramatic shift as new supply chains begin to form and massive infrastructure projects, such as the $157 million public-private upgrade of the State Pier in New London, move forward to prepare for this burgeoning mari-time industry. Connecticut’s manufacturing businesses need to be ready, or we will miss out.

Just last month, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), now the powerful Senate majority leader, announced a multi-million dollar investment through the New York State Energy Research and Develop-ment Authority to upgrade port infrastructure and prepare the state for its own growing offshore wind industry. This is an industry that has bipartisan support due to its potential climate impact and opportunity for high-tech business development and manufacturing on U.S. soil. Other states have already made overtures to lure the project proposed for the State Pier.

If Connecticut continues to delay in its preparations for the offshore wind industry, we will miss out on the anticipated 460 construction jobs, approximately 400 new offshore wind-related jobs, millions in local community investment, as well as partnerships with the local chain of manufacturers and suppli-ers this project will create.

It is time for our elected officials, business leaders, industry organizations, environmental advocates, and workforce to come together and support Connecticut’s offshore wind industry and the redevel-opment of the State Pier.

We are at a critical juncture, as businesses seek new opportunities to drive the post-pandemic recov-ery and future growth. The introduction of a new industry that is willing to invest in Connecticut is exactly what our state needs to rebuild.

Chris DiPentima is the president and CEO of the Connecticut Buiness and Industry Association.

 

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