Community-driven development of offshore wind in New York
The offshore wind project for the Big Apple
Wind farm projects don’t come much bigger or more impactful than Empire Wind..
As one of the first offshore wind farms being developed in New York, and also in the US, Empire Wind, located south of Long Island will produce 2.1 GW of renewable energy and power more than 1 million New York homes. By comparison, the world’s largest existing wind farm produces 1.3 GW. With Equinor and bp as 50-50 partners, the scale of the project is matched by the level of ambition for its social and economic impact.
The project plan includes upgrading the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT), setting it on track to become a leading offshore wind staging and assembly port worldwide. This facility will also be the Operations and Maintenance base, with capabilities to support the wind farm. SBMT will also provide support to Beacon Wind, another major offshore wind farm being developed offshore Massachusetts. Together, the Empire Wind and Beacon Wind projects will deliver 3.3 GW of renewable energy, enough to power about 2 million New York homes.
As well as helping New York State achieve its climate goals, the aim is to transform the region into a renewable energy hub - creating high-quality jobs, stimulating climate-friendly innovations, putting an emphasis on social justice, and ensuring that these significant investments bring a legacy to the local community.
To accelerate and maximize the benefits, Equinor is investing in a range of initiatives and collaborate closely with the New York State and New York City authorities, civil society, and universities.
Powered by the local community
In preparation for this development, Equinor is collaborating with a range of local community groups with its plans to transform the port.
To help build local experience and competence required to develop and operate the project, we work hand in hand with the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) as well as the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
We have partnered with NYCEDC to establish an Offshore Wind Ecosystem Fund, a $5 million clean energy community fund to support sustainable growth, empowerment of underserved areas, and climate justice in the offshore wind ecosystem in New York City. The Fund has three key objectives:
- Develop career pathways in the offshore wind ecosystem through job education and training
- Support New Yorkers from historically marginalized communities by prioritizing environmental justice and access to workforce and business opportunities
- Grow the green energy ecosystem in NYC by supporting and fostering innovation by local small, minority-owned, women-owned, and disadvantaged business enterprises (S/M/W/DBE).
At a hyper local level within the Brooklyn community, key groups we engage with include the local Community Board 7 and the Sunset Park Task Force, which consist of local partners and community stakeholders focused on maximizing the potential of the Sunset Park waterfront district. The local community boards play a key role in advising on project design and development and their opinion is important in attaining necessary city permits. The Sunset Park Task Force is a sustainable development and resiliency group focused on environmental justice as well as workforce development, and they play a significant role in advising on some of our community investments.
A member of the Sunset Park Taskforce, UPROSE, has been advocating for a clean-energy regeneration of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal port for over a decade. UPROSE is a women of color led, grassroots organization that promotes sustainability and resiliency through community organizing, education, leadership development, and cultural expression in Brooklyn, NY. As an environmental justice leader, UPROSE has been a key player within the community addressing workforce development gaps that represent a Just Transition. With their partnership and support, we aim to establish initiatives that serve as a model for how projects are built with community.
Accelerating the development through innovation
Through collaborative partnerships, we accelerate the local development of new technologies for the national and international offshore wind industry, to facilitate cost efficiency gains.
We have partnered with the NYU Urban Futures Lab (NYUUFL) and the NOWRDC (National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium) to facilitate innovations in offshore wind technology through an innovation hub. The hub aims to identify and support cleantech start-ups whose technology will help address key challenges within the offshore wind industry and contribute to building a robust offshore wind supply chain in the state of New York. The chosen start-ups will receive tailored support from UFL's network of mentors, the NOWRDC and key policy figures. We are also collaborating with NYCEDC given their expertise and networks in this area to ensure DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) efforts are incorporated throughout the procurement phase and program curriculum.
Additionally, Equinor and bp have awarded a long-term service operations vessel charter agreement to US marine transportation provider, Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO). The plug-in hybrid service operations vessel (SOV) will be the first in the US offshore wind sector capable of sailing partly on battery power.