Equinor’s NY offshore wind plans could bring 350 jobs in Port of Albany
If Equinor’s bids are successful at New York State’s latest offshore wind solicitation, that could lead to creation of up to 350 jobs related to manufacturing of wind turbine components at the Port of Albany in upstate New York.
Namely, the developer included the Port of Albany in its proposals recently submitted at the state’s solicitiation for up to 2.5 GW of offshore wind capacity, planning to house the manufacturing of wind turbine towers and transition pieces (TPs) there.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) received bids for two projects from the Norwegian energy major: Empire Wind Phase 2 and Beacon Wind. Together, the projects have the potential to generate more than 3,000 new jobs for New York State.
The proposals comprise plans for manufacturing offshore wind components upstate at the Port of Albany and the Port of Coeymans, and making South Brooklyn Marine Terminal the hub for construction activities and an operations and maintenance (O&M) base.
Development of a tower manufacturing facility at the Port of Albany is contingent upon NYSERDA selecting Equinor’s bid and PIIP, a multi-port infrastructure investment plan required at the state’s latest solicitation, the developer states.
The facility, developed jointly with wind industry manufacturers Marmen and Welcon, would transform the port for manufacturing offshore wind towers and TPs, creating up to 350 direct jobs in the region, according to the developer’s latest press release.
Marmen is one of the largest manufacturers of onshore wind towers in North America, with facilities in both the U.S. and Canada, and Welcon is a Denmark-based manufacturer of offshore wind towers which holds worldwide production rights for the Stiesdal floating and bottom-fixed offshore foundations.
Immediate Boost for COVID-19 Economic Recovery with Job Creation Starting in H2 2021
The extension of the Port of Albany and the construction of an offshore wind tower/TP manufacturing facility there could provide an immediate economic boost to the area as it recovers from the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Equinor.
Hundreds of jobs would be created in Albany to support the construction of the port’s infrastructure, as well as for the long-term assembly operations.
In addition, maritime operations related to industry components will sustain hundreds of other jobs for decades, Equinor states.
Should the developer’s proposal be chosen, new employment opportunities could be created as early as in the second half of 2021.
“Equinor is excited about the possibility of expanding its business within New York, and this plan would create the first facility for offshore wind tower and transition piece manufacturing in the U.S. Our proposal helps secure New York and the Port of Albany as a regional leader in this exciting new industry”, said Siri Espedal Kindem, President of Equinor Wind U.S.
The port is the ideal location to build wind turbine components, according to Katie Newcombe, Chief Economic Development Officer at the Center for Economic Growth, who added that the ongoing expansion of offshore wind power on the East coast would lead to the Port of Albany becoming a natural destination for future projects to source components.
“The economic potential for the NY Capital Region is enormous. We commend New York State leadership for their focused work in developing this industry and will continue our active engagement with local manufacturers to participate”, Katie Newcombe said.
Equinor acquired the lease for the Empire Wind project in 2017. The project site, located 24-48 kilometres southeast of Long Island, covers 80,000 acres and is being developed in two phases with a potential total installed capacity of more than 2 GW. The company is already developing the 816 MW Empire Wind Phase 1 wind farm, selected in New York State’s first-ever offshore wind solicitation last year.
Beacon Wind, located some 97 kilometres east of Montauk Point and 32 kilometres south of Nantucket, spans 128,000 acres and has the potential to accommodate a total offshore wind capacity of more than 2.4 GW. Equinor acquired this lease in 2019.
Each site would most likely feature next-generation wind turbines that have an output of more than 10 MW.
The two projects will be co-owned by bp, which entered a strategic partnership for offshore wind in the U.S. with Equinor in September. The oil & gas major will be a 50 per cent non-operating partner in the Empire Wind and Beacon Wind assets, once the transaction is closed, most likely early next year.