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Agreement finalizes deal to transform South Brooklyn Marine Terminal into wind energy hub

March 4, 2022 Editorial Staff
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A long-talked-about agreement to transform the city-owned South Brooklyn Marine Terminal into one of the largest offshore wind port facilities in the nation was finalized on Thursday. 

It was signed by the New York City Economic Development Corporation; the energy development firm Equinor; Equinor’s partner, bp; and Sustainable South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, L.P. 

The New York State Energy Research and Development Agency gave the go-ahead for the deal in January 2021, as reported by the Eagle at the time. In December 2021, Equinor announced the opening of its New York offshore wind project office at Industry City, also on the Sunset Park waterfront. Then, in January 2022, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) secured a $25 million grant to facilitate offshore wind development at the site.

Heavy lift platforms will be built on the 39th Street Pier for wind turbine staging and installation for Equinor and other developers.  Briefly speaking, wind turbines will be assembled from their component parts at the site, and then will be transported to the Empire Wind and Beacon Wind offshore wind farms, where they will generate power. The Empire Wind farm will be located off the South Shore of Long Island, and the Beacon Wind farm will be at an offshore point between Montauk and Nantucket.

The Economic Development Corp. also partnered with Equinor and the community to support workforce training for a diverse pool of local residents to bolster opportunities for New Yorkers created by investments in offshore wind infrastructure. 

The agreement expands the target of minority- and women-owned business enterprise (M/WBE) contractors based in and registered with New York City or New York State, with a 30 percent M/WBE participation goal; and will support technical assistance for M/WBE and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises to create more opportunities for participation in this sustainable growth industry. Additionally, the agreement ensures the development will be a low-emissions facility.

“With this investment, the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal will soon be transformed into one of the largest offshore wind port facilities in the nation,” said Mayor Eric Adams“This site will be the launch of a whole new industry for New York City that will support 13,000 local jobs over time, generate $1.3 billion in average annual investment citywide, and significantly reduce our carbon footprint.”

Equinor also committed to establishing a $5 million ecosystem fund to bring more New York City residents into offshore wind careers, propel offshore wind innovation and support a just transition. Finally, the firm is working to establish an offshore wind learning center —  accessible to the community — within its Brooklyn office, according to the Mayor’s Office. 

The city has committed $191 million to offshore wind projects — including $57 million in support of SBMT and $134 million in new investments. The city expects these initiatives to remove more than 34 million tons of CO2 from the environment — the equivalent of removing nearly 500,000 cars from roadways for 15 years — while creating 13,000 jobs related to offshore wind infrastructure across the five boroughs, the Mayor’s Office said. 

In 2018, NYCEDC selected Sustainable South Brooklyn Marine Terminal — in a partnership between Industry City and Red Hook Terminals — as the leaseholder to reactivate the underused South Brooklyn Marine Terminal. Under this agreement, SSBMT is entering into a sublease with Equinor and bp until 2054 for its operations and maintenance base, and its onshore substation. 

Under the same agreement, Equinor and bp will have a 10-year term for turbine staging and installation activities with an option to extend the 10-year term for up to six additional years. 

“This agreement marks a major step forward in our commitment to New York State to both provide renewable power and to spark fresh economic activity, while creating enduring jobs,” said Siri Espedal Kindem, president of Equinor Wind U.S. “With the support of NYCEDC, SSBMT, and our partners in the community, Equinor and bp are ready and eager to invest in the revitalization of SBMT — an historic port that will soon become a major part of New York’s energy future.”

“After decades of advocating to bring offshore wind to South Brooklyn, UPROSE is happy to see this climate justice victory progress in a community with a legacy of fossil fuel pollution and health disparities,” said Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director of UPROSE, a Sunset Park-based environmental advocacy group. “UPROSE and the Sunset Park community have long fought to preserve the industrial character of New York City’s largest industrial waterfront.” 

“I worked closely with Secretary Buttigieg to secure a critical $25 million federal grant to facilitate the transformation of South Brooklyn Marine Terminal into one of the largest offshore wind power projects in the nation, and today I am proud to see it moving forward at full speed,” said Schumer. “The federal investment will support good paying, green jobs for a community that has borne the burden of pollution, while helping New York State reach its emissions goals.”

 “The transformation of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal becoming one of the country’s largest offshore wind port facilities is an exciting milestone for Brooklyn because of all it’ll accomplish — from keeping industrial opportunities in the borough to creating more green jobs,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “This is the forward, innovative thinking we should be seeing more of in the largest borough in New York City. 

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