More Wind Farms On the Horizon

As East Hampton prepares the final agreements to allow the South Fork Wind Farm cable to come ashore in Wainscott, the future of offshore wind off Long Island’s coast has become much more crowded.

Two massive offshore wind farms with more than 90 turbines each, to be built by the firm Equinor, received approval from New York State in early January, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in his State of the State Address Jan. 13. They include the Empire Wind 2 project 20 miles offshore from Jones Beach, and Beacon Wind 1, which will be 60 miles east-southeast of Montauk. The transmission cable for the Beacon Wind 1 project would travel about 200 miles under the Long Island Sound to a grid tie-in in Astoria, Queens.

The Equinor lease site where Beacon Wind 1 will be located has the potential to be developed with a total capacity of more than 2.4 gigawatts. This first phase will have an installed capacity of 1,230 megawatts, Equinor announced on Jan. 13.

“These are the largest wind programs in the nation, 2,500 megawatts, the largest production of renewable energy by any state in U.S. history,” said Mr. Cuomo.

While the 15-turbine South Fork Wind project was the first to be awarded a contract to provide power to New York and is the farthest along in the development process, it’s far from the only project on the horizon.

In July of 2019, New York awarded a 25-year contract for Sunrise Wind, an 880 megawatt joint venture of Ørsted and transmission company Eversource, just southeast of the South Fork Wind Farm, which is also an Ørsted venture, and to Equinor’s first Empire Wind project, 816 megawatts, about 14 miles south of Long Beach. The Empire Wind projects are slated to come ashore at the E. F. Barrett Power Station in Oceanside.

New York is also working with wind developers to invest in offshore wind infrastructure at four ports throughout the state, including a manufacturing center in Albany that will build 150 wind turbines per year, and will ship turbine parts downstate along the Hudson River; an offshore wind turbine hub at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal; and operations and maintenance hubs constructed by Ørsted in Port Jefferson and Montauk. The hubs are expected to create 2,600 jobs, according to the governor’s office.

Equinor will be working with established wind industry companies Marmen and Welcon at the Albany site, where those companies will produce components for Equinor’s wind farms.

The state is also investing $20 million in a new Offshore Wind Training Institute at SUNY Stony Brook and Farmingdale State College, which will begin training and certifying students this year.

“The tide must lift all boats and environmental justice must be done,” said Mr. Cuomo. “As we’ve seen in America’s low tide, our communities of color were the most impacted by Covid and the underlying health disparities also aggravated the deaths from Covid. The same has been true with environmental injustice. Communities of color have borne the brunt of dirty power plants and harmful emissions. This has led to higher rates of asthma and other adverse health effects. Many of those effects actually were the causes of the increased death rates from Covid.”

“Our green economy must also work for people of color,” he added. “Our plan requires our new projects to meet our MWBE goals – Minority and Women Business Enterprise inclusion measures. Our goals are the highest in the nation, and we will also require prevailing wage and project labor agreements.”

“We look forward to working with the administration to ensure the timely, successful completion of these projects, to make sure all the offshore wind jobs driven by state investment are good family-sustaining, community-supporting union jobs—including  permanent manufacturing, operations and maintenance jobs—and to implement the governor’s commitment to using prevailing wage and project labor agreements across the projects announced today,” according to a statement after the announcement by Climate Jobs NY, a growing coalition of labor unions working to combat climate change and reverse inequality.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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