Wind Energy Comes to Sunset Park, Gov Says

The lone wind turbine at the SBMT in Sunset Park. Photo by Ariama C. Long

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced today in his agenda a plan for New York City to become a leader in green energy. As part of these efforts, Cuomo has okayed a number of proposals focused on creating the largest offshore wind program in the nation, starting with Brooklyn and Long Island.

Cuomo detailed the state’s future contract with Equinor Wind US LLC for the development of two new offshore wind farms off the shore of Long Island. The two offshore wind farms will yield “a combined 2,490 megawatts of carbon-free energy, bring another $8.9 billion in investment, and create more than 5,200 jobs.” The plans include the already proposed offshore wind turbine facility, operations, and maintenance hub to be established at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT) in Sunset Park. 

The idea is for the state to be a “green energy superhighway” of 250 miles, worth $2-5 billion dollars of private and public funds, that runs from upstate and Canada to New York City. 

“Our planet is in crisis. By every metric it is clear: Sea levels are rising; ice caps are shrinking. California is burning, the Arctic is melting and deserts are flooding,” said Cuomo. “We are proposing the largest wind programs in the nation and advancing our green manufacturing capacity and the jobs that go with it. Our new energy superhighway will be optimized by state-of-the-art battery storage facilities, so we can store renewable energy to be used when needed. These projects will not only create power but bring needed economic opportunity to struggling parts of our state, create green jobs, and make New York State a global wind energy manufacturing powerhouse.”

Last month, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), with Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Councilmember Carlos Menchaca (D-Red Hook, Sunset Park, Greenwood Heights and portions of Windsor Terrace, Dyker Heights, and Boro Park) pushed for New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to invest $200 million into the offshore wind development program at SBMT.

Schumer said that the local wind turbine assembly center would generate more than 1,500 megawatts of clean energy here in the city, and create thousands of jobs across the state. This also helps the state too, said Schumer, because 70 percent of its electricity has to come from renewable resources by 2030 as part of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) he helped push.

“We are here today because opportunity is knocking on Brooklyn’s door, and we want to answer it and help a new era of technology, jobs and clean energy come on through,” said Schumer. “This site is primed to be up and running quickly with the right investment, providing New York a critical foothold in the offshore wind supply chain and its tremendous opportunities for new jobs.”

Williams said that he is grateful to Cuomo for listening to their calls to build an offshore wind turbine hub in Brooklyn. 

“As I have consistently said– alongside an incredible coalition of activists and local, state, and federal elected officials– we can and must revitalize our coastline and support the Sunset Park community in a way that is environmentally and economically beneficial. We made this argument in opposing the Industry City rezoning, and I am glad it is now being heard in favor of alternatives,” said Williams.

Menchaca said that this decision marks a turning point in New York City’s fight for climate justice. 

“Many thanks and congratulations to the residents, community organizations, and advocates in Sunset Park who have made this day possible, and to the unions and elected officials who supported them. I am proud to have been part of this work since 2014 and to witness this pivotal moment advancing a Green New Deal in New York City,” said Menchaca. 

“We must not forget that the future of Sunset Park’s waterfront could have been very different. Industrial waterfronts around the city have been transformed into luxury residential and office towers, pushing out critical industries and living wage jobs and increasing our city’s vulnerability to climate change,” he added.