FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQ”) about Requests for Expressions of Interest

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Last Updated on February 23, 2021

This FAQ is intended to assist potential applicants for Trust funds in completing and submitting their Expressions of Interest (“EOIs”) in response to the Request for Expressions of Interest (“RFEOI”) released on the Trust’s website on February 1, 2021. Any additional questions regarding the EOI process should be directed by email to the Trust Manager at info@pronjtrust.org. The Trust may update this FAQ from time to time.

1. What types of entities are eligible to apply for a grant through the Ocean Wind Pro-NJ Grantor Trust?

The Ocean Wind Pro-NJ Grantor Trust will offer small, women-owned and minority-owned business enterprises (SBE, WBE and MBE) in New Jersey support in reconfiguring their businesses to participate in the developing offshore wind industry.

The Trust will also provide funding for infrastructure resiliency improvements critical to the coastal communities in Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May counties. Businesses, non-profit organizations, non-state funded academic institutions who have partnered with counties and/or municipalities, and governmental agencies at the county and municipal levels in Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May counties are eligible to apply for funding toward resiliency projects.
Applicants will be limited to one application per application window.

2. What is the submission/acceptance period for EOIs?

EOIs from New Jersey-certified Small, Women-owned and Minority-owned business enterprises (“SBE/WBE/MBE”) will be accepted from February 1, 2021 through March 5, 2021. EOIs received after March 5, 2021 will not be considered for Trust grants unless the submission period is extended by the Trustees. Applicants that submit incomplete EOIs which fail to include information or documents required by the RFEOI will have the opportunity to update their EOIs up until the close of the submission period (March 5, 2021). For this reason, it is highly recommended that potential applicants submit their EOIs as early as possible. The Trust Manager will work with potential applicants to the best of its ability to ensure that complete EOIs are received within the deadline. See FAQ No. 12 for more information.

Applicants who do not submit an EOI during this application window, or who fail to submit complete applications during this application window, will be able to reapply during the next SBE/WBE/MBE EOI submission period. Interested applicants should stay tuned to the Trust website and local media, as it is anticipated that SBE/WBE/MBE application windows will be opened on an annual basis.

3. What are some of the types of small, women-owned and minority-owned businesses that should consider retooling to support the offshore wind industry?

Offshore wind development, construction and operations needs nearly every type of business, which is what makes it such an excellent economic catalyst. The Trust is open to creative and novel Projects that further the development of the Offshore Wind Industry in New Jersey. Some examples of the businesses that may be able to adapt to support this industry include:

  • Onshore and offshore light logistics and services
  • Marine vessel operators
  • Marine vessel supply and maintenance
  • Aviation supply and maintenance
  • Civil construction
  • Electrical construction
  • Marine construction
  • Buildings – construction and repair
  • Professional services (communications, environmental/permitting, engineering, etc.)
  • Turbine blade inspection and service
  • Fuel service and supply
  • Network/wireless communications supply, service, and repair
  • Workforce training, trade/safety, etc.
  • Facilities management
  • Cable laying
  • Directional boring
  • Waste management, cleaning and janitorial
  • Food service and catering
  • Onshore and offshore surveys
  • Project and risk management
  • Health and safety equipment and clothing
  • Marine clothing/equipment supply
  • Material handling and logistics
  • Security services
  • Marine mammal observation

The Trust encourages prospective applicants to be innovative with their Project concepts regarding how their New Jersey businesses could contribute to the development of the Offshore Wind Industry in the State.

4. When will the Trust publish Requests for Expressions of Interest?

The Trust published a request for EOIs for the SBE/WBE/MBE category in early February 2021. Information is available on the How to Apply page.

The Trust expects to release a request of EOIs for Resiliency Projects later this year.

Further, it is anticipated that the Trust will open additional SBE/WBE/MBE application windows on an annual basis. See FAQ No. 2 for more information.

5. What size grants will be awarded?

The Trust will make awards ranging from $10,000 to $50,000.

6. What constitutes an eligible “Project” under the RFEOI?

As used in the RFEOI, “Project” means any planned use of Trust funds that fits within the stated purpose of the Trust, including:

  • Enabling a New-Jersey based SBE/WBE/MBE to enter the offshore wind industry; and
  • Supporting the development of an offshore wind energy industry supply chain and workforce in New Jersey.

For example, “Projects” may consist of an initiative within your business, creating a new division within your business, or the purchasing of supplies or equipment to support your business’s entry into the offshore wind industry or the development of an offshore wind energy industry supply chain or workforce. The term “Project” can be interpreted liberally, so long as the proposed use of Trust funds fits within the spirit of the Trust’s overall purpose. Please see specific examples below:

  • Example 1: An engineering company desires additional training of its engineers in offshore wind engineering, transmission infrastructure, maritime studies, ocean resource characterization and/or environmental permitting. The company further desires to acquire materials or tools necessary to implement newly developed skills in the offshore wind industry.
  • Example 2: A marine vessel operated desires to repair and/or improve its vessel in order to provide transportation, security, and/or hauling services in the offshore wind industry.
  • Example 3: A marine mammal observer needs equipment and other technology to monitor and implement mitigation measures and protect marine life during offshore wind operations.
  • Example 4: A surveying company needs a small surveying boat in order to conduct site investigations and surveying services in the offshore wind industry.

7. Must SBE/WBE/MBE EOI applicants be New Jersey businesses?

Yes. At this time, the Trust is only accepting EOIs from SBE/WBE/MBE businesses that are New Jersey-based. The Trust will consider EOIs from foreign businesses that are registered to do business in the State of New Jersey and have partnered with a New Jersey-based business for the Projects outlined in their EOIs.

8. What is the application process?

The Trust will follow a two-step submission and evaluation process, with the submission of Expressions of Interest (EOI), followed by a formal application.

Requests for EOIs for the small, women-owned and minority-owned businesses and Resiliency Projects categories will be published throughout the year with separate submission windows.

Prospective applicants interested in applying for grant funding should submit an EOI to the Trust administrator in PDF form to info@pronjtrust.org during the applicable EOI submission window.

Following review of the EOIs, the Trustees will request formal proposals from certain respondents. Prospective applicants should submit an EOI, but should not submit a formal proposal unless invited to do so by the Trustees.

9. What SBE/WBE/MBE certification is required to submit an EOI? Is certification from other states acceptable?

The New Jersey Department of Treasury provides certification and registration for minority-owned, women-owned and small business enterprises. (See N.J.A.C. 17:26-1.1, et seq. and N.J.A.C. 17:13-2.1, et seq.) Trust fund applicants must provide proof of certification and/or registration as an MBE, WBE and/or SBE at the time of submission of an EOI. However, the Trust will consider otherwise eligible EOI applicants that qualify for such certification or registration at the time of the EOI submission, and who provide proof of such certification or registration by the end of the formal application period (if the EOI applicant is, in fact, invited to submit a formal application). Such applicants must affirmatively state that they qualify for such certification and/or registration in their EOI submissions. If an EOI applicant is indeed minority-owned, women-owned and/or a small business enterprise and has not completed certification or registration, it is highly recommended that the business begin that process promptly. Certifications from other states will not be accepted.

10. How long is the SBE/WBE/MBE certification process?

The New Jersey Department of Treasury, Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services’ website has an online portal to begin the certification process: https://www.njportal.com/dor/sberegistry. According to the application, it takes approximately 4 weeks to process once the required check is received. Per FAQ, No. 11 so long as businesses submit their certifications prior to the end of the formal application period (if the EOI applicant is, in fact, invited to submit a formal application), they can simply certify on their EOIs that they qualify as SBE/WBE/MBE and are in the process of obtaining the certification. Please note that the formal application process will occur only after EOI applicants have been invited to submit a formal application following review and scoring of their EOIs.

11. What information and documents are required to be included in the EOI?

Please see the “Submission Checklist” included in the RFEOI. Required information and documents include: (1) Applicant Contact Information; (2) Organization Background and Experience; (3) Brief Project Description; (4) Proposed Use of Trust Funds; (5) New Jersey SBE/MBE/WBE Certification; (6) Proposed Budget; (7) Proof of Financial Stability (bank statement, most recent tax return and balance sheet); and (8) Executed Release and Waiver of Liability. The “Submission Checklist” page included in the RFEOI must also be included with the EOI submission. Letters of Recommendation are optional in the EOI stage of the submission process. Additionally, not all of the “prompts” on page 2 of the RFEOI must be answered, only the main headings (listed above as 1-8) must be addressed. These prompts are simply to assist potential applicants in completing their EOIs.

12. What is subject to the five-page limit of the EOI?

Only the (1) Applicant Contact Information; (2) Organization Background and Experience; (3) Brief Project Description; and (4) Proposed Use of Trust Funds are subject to the five-page limit. The remainder of the attachments and the Submission Checklist will not count toward the five-page limit.

13. Must potential applicants submit EOIs in order to be considered for a Trust grant?

Yes. All potential applicants must first submit an EOI to be considered for a Trust grant. Successful EOI applicants will then be invited to submit a formal application for Trust funds.

14. How will an EOI applicant know that its EOI has been received and is complete?

Upon submission of an EOI, the Trust Manager will confirm receipt and whether the EOI has been deemed complete, and whether or not the EOI has been submitted to the Advisory Committee for review. If the EOI is incomplete and required information is missing, the Trust Manager will alert the applicant of this and request the additional information/documents be submitted before the close of the EOI submission period on March 5,, 2021.

15. What if prospective applicants do not have “relevant professional experience” in the Offshore Wind Industry to include in their EOI?

Rest assured, “relevant professional experience” does not necessarily have to be in the Offshore Wind Industry. For example, a civil construction company may have experience with complex civil, industrial and infrastructure construction projects that may be useful experience for contributing to the Offshore Wind Industry in New Jersey. Additionally, the Trust will consider the professional experience of not just the Applicant, but also of its owners and officers. For those new businesses with little to no professional experience, a willingness to partner or contract with other businesses that do have relevant professional experience may also be described in the EOI.

16. Are start-up businesses eligible for Trust grants?

Yes, start-up businesses may be eligible for Trust grants if they are otherwise eligible to submit EOIs and propose Projects within the purpose of the Trust (see FAQ Nos. 6 and 15). Please note that “Proof of Financial Stability” is a requirement to a submit an EOI. The applicant may submit proof of financial stability of the Applicant’s owner(s) and officers, as well as of companies with common ownership of the Applicant, along with any other relevant proof of financial stability to meet this initial eligibility requirement.

17. How will Expressions of Interest and applications be evaluated?

Expressions of Interest and applications will be evaluated by an Advisory Committee comprised of nine individuals who will work in tandem with the Trustees to identify and recommend the most appropriate proposals for funding.

18. What is the review process for submissions?

Upon submission, Expressions of Interest (EOIs) will be reviewed for completeness by the Trust Manager and submitted to the Advisory Committee for review. The Advisory Committee, or any subcommittee thereof, will review EOIs and make recommendations to the full Advisory Committee. Once the Advisory Committee, or any subcommittee thereof, votes on the recommendations, the Trust Manger will notify EOI applicants.

If EOI applicants are invited to move forward, applicants will be required to submit a formal application. Once applications have been submitted, subcommittee members will review, score, rank and make award recommendations to the full Advisory Committee for vote. If necessary, applicants may be invited to interview during this time.

The Advisory Committee will then provide a full recommendation to the Trustees for vote and finalization of awards. Once approved by the Trustees, the Trust Manager will notify successful applicants.

19. When will successful EOI applicants be invited to submit formal applications?

The Advisory Committee to the Trust will not begin reviewing EOIs until after the close of the submission period on March 5, 2021. The Advisory Committee anticipates that EOI applicants will be notified whether they are invited to submit formal applications in or around April 2021. This anticipated notification timeframe may be extended, depending on the number of EOIs received and whether the Advisory Committee requires additional or supplemental information from EOI applicants.

20. When do you expect to have a final decision on grant applications?

The Trusts anticipates awarding the first round of grants to successful applicants in the SBE/WBE/MBE category in the summer of 2021 and successful applicants in the Resiliency category in the fall of 2021. These anticipated timeframes may be extended, depending on the number of applications and whether the Advisory Committee requires additional or supplemental information from applicants.

21. How and when will successful applicants receive their Trust grants?

Additional information regarding the disbursement of Trust grants will be released in the near future. It is anticipated that successful applicants will receive a percentage of Trust funds upon the award of their grant, with additional payments received according to a disbursement schedule. The Trustees may consider the nature of the proposed Project and proposed budget/spending plan in determining the disbursement schedule.

22. Should applicants contact the Advisory Committee and/or the Trustees regarding their interest in applying for Trust grants, or regarding the status of their EOIs and/or formal applications?

No. The Trust is committed to ensuring a fair and equitable review and award process, so applicants and prospective applicants should consult this FAQ for answers to their questions, or contact the Trust Manager at info@pronjtrust.org with any questions not answered by the FAQ. Applicants and prospective applicants should not directly contact the Trustees or the Advisory Committee, unless requested to do so for submission or interview-related purposes.

23. How will EOIs be scored? Will the scoring criteria be released?

No, the scoring criteria will not be released. In general, EOIs that fully and comprehensively respond to the RFEOI and clearly outline Project goals and the proposed use of Trust funds for Projects that are within the stated purpose of the Trust will receive higher scores. Educational webinars will be offered for businesses seeking additional information regarding the Trust and the application process.

24. Do SBE/MBE/WBE applicants have to be located in Atlantic, Cape May or Ocean counties?

No. SBE/MBE/WBE applicants may be located throughout the State of New Jersey.

25. Are there job training grants that are a part of the Trust or is that another funding source?

Job training to better position your business or expand your business in the Offshore Wind Industry may be an eligible “Project” under the terms of the Trust. Please see the FAQ No. 6 for additional information.

26. Would businesses have to adhere to prevailing wage?

No. This is a private Trust.

This FAQ may be modified from time-to-time to answer additional questions or revise/clarify current questions and answers. Please continue to monitor the FAQ for the latest updates.

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