Offshore wind farm could bring fabrication hub, hundreds of jobs to Brooklyn
Deepwater Wind starts the ball rolling with supplier forum
The nation’s leading wind-power developer plans to establish a major assembly hub in Brooklyn that would support construction of the largest offshore wind farm in the United States, proposed for 30 miles east of Montauk.
That factory would generate more than $80 million in economic activity and create hundreds of jobs, said the company, Deepwater Wind, which also plans to create a workforce training program.
On Thursday, scores of construction engineers, lawyers, engineers, pilots and other contractors met Deepwater Wind officials in Downtown Brooklyn to scope out the opportunities for the wind farm, which remains several years from construction.
“Help us build this project,” Deepwater Wind Vice President Clinton Plummer told would-be sub-contractors about his Montauk plan. “We expect to put several hundred people to work.”
Plummer later told the Brooklyn Eagle he was pleased with the response and the crowd at the Marriott hotel event.
“There were several representatives from the labor unions here, which is very dear to us because we’re a union shop,” he said.
Plummer said Brooklyn will play multiple roles on current — and perhaps future — Deepwater Wind projects.
“One would be building portions of the foundations that connect the wind turbines to the sea floor,” he said. “These are massive structures; each one will weigh several hundred tons.”
The company would build parts of those foundations here, “and put a lot of people to work doing iron work, steel fabrication, painting and other hands-on blue collar, good paying union jobs,” he added.
Other Brooklyn contractors will bid to fabricate the offshore substation “where the collection lines from all the wind turbines come together … a big structure of steel, electrical components and high-tech computers,” he said.
Sunset Park the new ‘Windy City’
One area being considered for the factory is Sunset Park.
“All of the infrastructure that has been presented here today can and should be built” in the neighborhood, said Maria Roca, founder of The Friends of Sunset Park. “It is about jobs; it is about real workforce training — the type we don’t see in New York City, and college careers.
Roca said she also represented POWWA (Protect Our Working Waterfront Alliance) and UPROSE, New York’s environmental justice organization, at the gathering.
“The outcome is training our young people for the real future of our economy, the jobs that are going to be there, able to sustain a family, with good benefits,” she added.
The contractors fair drew companies large and small — and even one lone photographer hoping for work. On the large side was the Canadian firm Hatch, a global environmental and engineering consultancy with 9,000 employees.
“A project like this is really exciting for us,” said Joshua Nelson. “It’s great opportunity to take our ports and marine skills and our energy skills and combine them in a potential project.”
If all goes as planned, the South Fork Wind Farm will be just the second offshore wind farm in America, following one built by the same company off Rhode Island.
The 90-megawatt, 15-turbine wind farm off Montauk could power 50,000 homes, the company said. New York State hopes to power 130,000 homes by wind power by 2030.
Interested vendors can go to southforkwindfarmjobs.com to learn more about available opportunities.
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