Renewable-energy bill in New Jersey aimed at boatbuilders

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A New Jersey lawmaker is sponsoring a bill in his state that would assist Garden State boatbuilders hit hard by the recession in making the transition to manufacture parts for windmills.

The bill, sponsored by Democrat Jim Whelan, was unanimously approved Tuesday by the Senate Economic Growth Committee. It now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for further review.

“Manufacturers have had to learn to be adaptable and innovative to stay afloat in our current economy. The boatbuilding industry has done just that by creating a plan to reach into a growing segment of the economy — green and renewable energy,” Whelan said in a statement. “By providing boat manufacturers with the tools necessary to transition to the renewable energy sector we can encourage job growth in industries that will only expand and grow in years to come.”

The bill would require the New Jersey Business Action Center to assist boatbuilders in converting or expanding their business operations to manufacture components for wind energy equipment and in developing business partnerships with wind energy equipment manufacturers.

This legislation comes on the heels of numerous energy companies' interest in building offshore wind farms off the coast of southern New Jersey and in increasing the number of windmills throughout the Garden State.

Another of Whelan's bills that would assist New Jersey boatbuilders in transitioning to renewable energy development was approved by the Economic Growth Committee last month.

That legislation, which is awaiting consideration in the full Senate, would qualify New Jersey boatbuilders to apply for any loan program offered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority that supports renewable-energy and energy-efficiency companies in entering or expanding within the manufacturing stage of commercial development.

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