Sunset Park

Brooklyn waterfront poised for new job growth in offshore wind assembly

November 17, 2022 Editorial Staff
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$5 million in new ecosystem fund

A fund to promote workforce growth and inclusivity in New York’s offshore wind industry has been launched, impacting most directly the community of Sunset Park where wind system assembly and workforce recruiting will be based.

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Equinor, one of the largest wind developers in the world, and British Petroleum (BP) America, in partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Sunset Park Task Force (SPTF), today announced the creation of the Offshore Wind Ecosystem Fund, a $5 million clean energy community grant program designed to support sustainable growth, workforce development, empowerment of under- served communities, and climate justice in New York City’s emerging offshore wind ecosystem.

The fund will provide grants that help spur job education and training, provide historically marginalized communities access to workforce and small business opportunities, and assist minority and women-owned business enterprises in New York City to foster innovation that contributes to the growth of the offshore wind ecosystem.

The Ecosystem Fund is governed by a Strategy Development Committee responsible for creating investment strategies that align with the Fund’s objectives, and a Selection Committee that will help evaluate and select funding proposals. Both include representatives of the Sunset Park Task Force, which advocates to maximize the economic potential and community links between Sunset Park residents and the waterfront, NYCEDC and Equinor.

One of the largest wind developers in the world, Equinor is leading the Ecosystem Fund initiative on behalf of its 50-50 strategic partnership with bp in the US. Together, the companies are developing the Empire Wind and Beacon Wind projects, which will provide enough renewable energy to power more than two million New York homes. Empire Wind, located off the southern coast of Long Island, will provide over two gigawatts of offshore wind energy, and Beacon

Wind will provide an additional 1.2 gigawatts of power.

“We are thrilled to announce the launch of the Ecosystem Fund that will provide important fund- ing to help develop the future of the clean energy economy in New York. This initiative will help spur a new pipeline of creative ideas and talented people from across the city, especially from underserved communities, to build careers in this ex- citing new field,” said Molly Morris, President of Equinor Wind US. “It also aligns with our work with the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal and the community of Sunset Park in Brooklyn to revitalize the industrial port facility and transform it into a major staging and assembly port for offshore wind turbines that will last well into the future.”

Dave Lawler, Chairman and President of bp America, said: “bp recognizes the importance of a just energy transition that delivers quality jobs, supports the livelihoods of local communities and prepares workers for new opportunities in the energy sector. That’s why we’re investing to support equity within the offshore-wind sector, help people develop skills for the future energy system and build greater workforce resilience.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Equinor in the creation of the Offshore Wind Ecosystem Fund, which will be a critical program helping to advance New York City’s Offshore Wind vision,” said NYCEDC President and CEO Andrew Kimball. “This fund is the result of a great public private partnership that will help ensure the green economy is accessible to all New Yorkers.”

Doreen M. Harris, President and CEO, NY- SERDA said, “NYSERDA’s partnership with Equinor includes three of New York’s five off- shore wind projects currently in development— part of the largest active portfolio in the U.S., that will anchor this game-changing renewable resource here in the Empire State and bring bene- fits to all New Yorkers – especially those who have historically been left behind. This Ecosystem Fund will support communities like Sunset Park with a pathway to provide historical knowledge and local expertise for workforce training and development initiatives—and guide community in- vestments that will best serve their neighborhoods and the broader development of offshore wind projects.”

“The Offshore Wind Ecosystem Fund is bringing an integrated approach to environmental justice in Brooklyn,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “Not only will these grants accelerate our clean energy efforts, but they will also open up green careers to new generations and empower small businesses owned by minorities, women, and service-disabled veterans to participate in the offshore wind industry. Thank you to Equinor, NYCEDC, and SPTF for the thoughtful approach to New York’s clean and green future.”

“As we work to create a regional hub of off- shore wind production and logistics at South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, it is essential we pre- pare the local workforce to build and operate it. The principle of a just transition is that we focus on equity and include underserved and environ- mental justice communities in our energy transition. Toward this end, I was also pleased to secure Department of Labor funding for a local work- force development program for climate adaptation manufacturing. As we retool our economy for green energy, I am pleased that this initiative and the work of NYCEDC, Sunset Park Task Force, and Equinor will ensure additional resources for a more just transition as we prepare the local work- force to have real manufacturing jobs right here in Brooklyn. With all levels of government, indus- try and the community working together, the future can be bright,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY).

“New York City’s green energy sector continues to grow stronger with today’s announcement of $5 million dedicated to supporting sustainable and equitable growth in our local communities. These are the green jobs that will not only en- sure that we meet our city’s climate goals of 100% clean electricity by 2040, but will also meet our goals for a just economic recovery. As the Chair of the New York City Council’s Committee on Economic Development, I am excited to see the attention that the NYCEDC, Equinor, and the Sunset Park Task Force are paying to the intersectional needs of our workforce. To recover equitably we must put our Black, Brown, and minority communities first- this grant does just that by making sure our Offshore Wind Sector is focusing on M/ WBEs, SDVOBs and environmental justice communities. Thank you to President Andrew Kimball, Equinor, and the Sunset Park Task Force for your leadership and collaboration on this import- ant grant,” said Councilmember Amanda Farias, Chair of Committee on Economic Development.

“Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing our city. These types of public/private partnerships play an instrumental role in making New York City greener,” said Council Member James F. Gennaro, Chair of the New York City Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection. “I applaud Equinor Wind, NYCEDC and Sunset Park Task Force for this much-needed investment in clean energy.”

“This grant program is a win for climate justice: growing our city’s green economy and sup- porting good jobs while empowering this community,” said Kizzy Charles-Guzmán, Executive Director, Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice. “Offshore wind is crucial to reducing our city’s dependence on fossil fuels and reaching city and state clean energy goals, and we are so pleased that this fund will prioritize front- line communities like Sunset Park.”

“Programs like this show New York City’s great progress toward becoming a world-renowned offshore wind hub,” said Rohit T. Aggarwala, Commissioner, Department of Environmental Protection and Chief Climate Officer. “The Offshore Wind Ecosystem Fund moves us closer to achieving the city’s long-term sustainability goals while creating economic opportunities that revitalize environmental justice communities.”

Further information on the Ecosystem Fund, guidance on applications, and matching opportunities for collaborating with other applicants will be provided in the coming weeks.

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