New York’s offshore wind farms: Jobs, green energy, and future economic potential

State News

FILE – In this Aug. 15, 2016 file photo, three of Deepwater Wind’s turbines stand in the water off Block Island, R.I. Though this is only one of two operational U.S. wind farms in 2021, members of the wind power industry and clean energy advocates are hoping that President Joe Biden’s administration can transform the country into a leader in offshore wind power.(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- New York estimates six million homes will be powered by offshore wind (OSW) turbines creating 9,000 kilowatts of green energy and 30% of the state’s electricity load within the next 14 years. To do this, the nation’s first offshore wind tower manufacturing plant will be built in the Port of Albany.

OSW projects are set to generate thousands of jobs and put billions of dollars into infrastructure, said New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) President and CEO, Doreen Harris at an Offshore Wind Virtual Summit on Tuesday.

Harris and other summit participants including Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, County Executive Dan McCoy, and international OSW developers spoke about the years of work it took to get to this point in making the state’s commitment to green energy a reality.

Harris said she was pleased to see the state advancing its OSW goals. “It’s such an exciting time to see this all coming together and I’m very excited to hear more about these details today,” she said.

Three out of the five active OSW projects in New York are being developed by Equinor Wind, U.S. LLC. New England Market Lead, Beth Treseder said the OSW tower manufacturing facility at the Port of Albany puts the state in a good position to play a part in other OSW projects along the East Coast.

“The impacts of this manufacturing facility really can’t be overstated. It will support offshore wind development along the East Coast; it responds to New York’s commitment to clean energy; it positions the region to play a key role in the growing offshore wind industry; and perhaps more importantly it will introduce long-term, sustainable jobs,” she said.

OSW projects in New York

Project nameDeveloperEnergy capacityProjected operation date
Beacon WindEquinor Wind U.S. LLC1,230-megawatts2028
Empire Wind 1Equinor Wind U.S. LLC816-megawatts2024
Empire Wind 2Equinor Wind U.S. LLC1,260-megawatts2026
South Fork Wind FarmØrsted130-megawattsDecember 2022
Sunrise WindSunrise Wind LLC880-megawatts2024
Source: NYSERDA

“If you had said to me back in 2012 when I took office as county executive that this is going to be our future, I probably would have laughed at you. And I would have said yeah, okay, sure, let’s move on,” said Albany County Executive Dan McCoy.

McCoy talked about how the Port of Albany OSW manufacturing plant was going to open up opportunities for a community in need of good-paying jobs.

“It’s not just about jobs. It’s about quality of life and it’s about changing the outcome for people in different communities that don’t have opportunities,” he said.

Construction on the OSW manufacturing plant is set to begin in 2022 and start operating in either late 2023 or early 2024, said Port of Albany CEO, Rich Hendrick. The facility will produce 150 OSW towers each year, generating 500 construction jobs and 300 long-term jobs for highly skilled workers.

New York doesn’t just want to fulfill ambitious green energy projects, it also wants to have a hand in training skilled workers.

The state made a $20M investment to train workers in OSW development. The State University of New York (SUNY) in conjunction with Farmingdale State College and Stony Brook University will educate 2,500 students at the Offshore Wind Training Institute.

“As we rebuild the post-COVID economy, we must focus on up-and-coming industries that are primed for growth,” said SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras. “I want to thank Stony Brook University and Farmingdale State College for lending their top-of-the-line facilities and the expertise of their faculty to this important effort. With their help and Governor Cuomo’s leadership, we will train thousands of workers annually for high-paying green energy jobs and play a critical role in New York’s economic recovery.”

Tuesday’s OSW summit was hosted by the Center for Economic Growth of the Capital Region.

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