N.Y. offshore wind hub gets boost

Source: By Heather Richards, E&E News reporter • Posted: Sunday, November 15, 2020

Two New York House Democrats are throwing their weight behind an offshore wind company’s bid to build a hub in Brooklyn.

Reps. Nydia Velázquez and Jerry Nadler argue that Equinor Wind US LLC’s proposal to locate a turbine construction, assembly and loading operation at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal would help revitalize the historically working class Sunset Park neighborhood that lies southeast of Lower Manhattan along the Upper New York Bay.

“A project at SBMT will be part of the ecosystem of working waterfront we foster in Brooklyn,” the lawmakers wrote in a Tuesday letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), seeking state investment.

Velázquez and Nadler said of the project: “It is also located in an environmental justice community and can offer equitable economic opportunity for residents and area small businesses through training, workforce development and contracting.”

Equinor’s proposal to revitalize the port accompanies New York state’s latest offshore wind solicitation of up to 2.5 gigawatts of production capacity.

The competition offers developers the chance to secure state commitments to subsidize their wind production via purchase of offshore wind renewable energy certificates.

The Norwegian firm was among the winners of the state’s first solicitation last year, with the 816-megawatt Empire Wind proposal.

In September, the company announced that BP PLC would take a 50% stake in the project. Equinor has submitted two bids for the upcoming auction, Empire Wind Phase 2 and Beacon Wind.

The company announced yesterday that it also proposed locating an offshore wind tower manufacturing facility in Albany.

New York is one of the driving forces behind the projected growth of the offshore wind sector. The state aims to reach 9 GW of offshore wind power by 2035, and firms have lined up to court the state.

The lawmakers’ support for port revitalization in south Brooklyn follows a push by local organizers. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio committed $57 million to the port in his State of the City address this year, but advocates say state funding is also needed.

New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act mandates that 70% of the state’s electricity come from renewables by 2030. It also requires that at minimum 35% of benefits go to frontline communities.

Local advocate say Sunset Park meets those qualifications. It’s long been an industrialized section of Brooklyn, home to power plants and near a freeway.

“This is how we link legislation and environmental justice,” said Angela Mahecha Adrar, executive director of the Climate Justice Alliance, in a statement supporting state investment in the Brooklyn port last month.