What’s the NYS Supply Chain Development Partnership? By AJ Negrelli, Local Content Lead Albany, New York – October 3, 2023 – Last week Attentive Energy One, in partnership with the Center for Economic Growth, hosted a roundtable luncheon in the Capital Region to discuss the NYS Supply Chain Development Partnership (the SCDP), a proposed initiative that commits $15 million to a collaboration between the Center for Economic Growth, Institute for Workforce Advancement, and NYC Economic Development Corporation. This proposed plan for cross-regional collaboration will drive three key programs for offshore wind supply chain development: These three programs outline a clear goal as the SCDP works with advocacy organizations to grow a local and diverse NY offshore wind supply chain. First, educate the market on the exact goods and services needs of the sector required at each stage of offshore wind project development including technical requirements and contractual expectations. Second, provide business development support so small and diverse businesses who have the potential to fulfill a niche in the supply chain can scale up to meet the criteria dictated by the buyers. And third, partner with tier-1 and tier-2 contractors to host skill/scope specific meet-the-buyer events that link NYS businesses with the exact type of goods/services they offer to their unique buyers. AE1 kicked off our stakeholder engagement of the initiative by presenting this plan to business development stakeholders who were invited to share feedback through a collaborative discussion of how to effectively conduct advocacy for New York’s small and diverse businesses. Figure 1: From left to right – Colleen Williams (Office of Congressman Paul D. Tonko), Eric Fasser (FuzeHub), Tania Marinos (Attentive Energy), Laura Mann (Capital Region Chamber), Anthony “AJ” Negrelli (Attentive Energy), Carman Bogle (Office of State Sentator Jake Ashby), Tom Grant (Office of State Senator Jake Ashby), Danielle Davis (Capital Region Chamber), Kate Baker (U at Albany SBDC), Don Wiesenforth (Center for Economic Growth) As the aroma of catering from Tara’s Kitchen filled the conference room and our guests filled their plates with chicken and rice, I took a breath and reflected on why we were here today with this group of stakeholders. The offshore wind sector, as a new industry for New York State, needs to localize its supply chain but can only do so effectively if we understand the existing small business support infrastructure. If we want to do right by NY businesses with grassroots outreach and grant funding, we must properly understand the needs of those business owners, how they focus their time and resources, and what the State agencies are already doing to meet those needs. Our roundtable experts shared some key barriers to entry that many small and diverse businesses face in New York State. There is a struggle to compete with larger businesses with seemingly unlimited resources. There are labor shortages and workforce development challenges. Regulation and the cost of new facilities and infrastructure can make growth inaccessible. Capital grant funding can be difficult to navigate and oftentimes only obtained after it would have been needed for a potential game-changing contract. While there is a shared common goal of creating economic growth for NY’s small, diverse businesses, an early warning was given as the discussion began: small business owners do not view offshore wind in a bubble. Small businesses and the non-profit organizations who support them look holistically at all sectors and will aid businesses in seeking opportunities across the board. Resources won’t allow for a sole-sector focused endeavor by regional support networks. While offshore wind stakeholders are focused on our commitments to supply chain development, we must remember that our priorities are not the same as those working in the grassroots of our potential supply chain. In a post-COVID world, many small businesses are focused on the year ahead and not what could be five years ahead. While offshore wind developers are focused on the five-year plan, any public engagement needs to be timed with relevant information to the right people. If an opportunity for contracting is still far away, awareness can help in the lead up as long as promises aren’t overreaching. So what is relevant information for the right people? Business owners need to know very key details in order to determine if the offshore wind opportunity is real for them. They will ask questions such as “What goods/services are needed? When are they needed? Who controls whether they will receive contracts?” Offshore wind developers need to take a proactive role with their tier-1 manufacturers to ensure that we share the same commitments to New York for supply chain localization. Our proposed initiatives, like the SCDP, shows that AE1 can learn from past efforts and remain mindful of the needs of small and diverse business owners as we build on the statewide opportunities of offshore wind.