15 Mar 2023
By Fred Zalcman
There comes a time in a big race, a marathon for example, when you realize that the hard work you’ve put in to achieve your goal, the goal you’ve been working toward for months or years even, is about to be put to the test.
In any race, there is always tremendous excitement at the start, a welcoming of the challenges ahead, a sense of urgency to begin. And an experienced runner knows that great rewards are waiting at the end. But getting there… that’s the hard part.
This is where things stand for New York and the state’s efforts to launch a major new offshore wind industry.
If we were to compare the progress of offshore wind in New York state to the New York City Marathon, many of the runners would have passed through Staten Island and Brooklyn, with Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Manhattan again still ahead. New York’s offshore wind industry is indeed off to the races, but it has a long way to go. To reach the finish line, much remains to be done. New York’s ambitious climate goals must become construction goals, and projects need to get built. Fortunately, there are no signs of anyone dropping out of the race.
Despite the road ahead, the New York Offshore Wind Alliance (NYOWA) saw real progress last year in forging a vibrant and responsible domestic offshore wind industry in the state. In 2023, the way forward is clear, as New York works to turn its climate goals into construction goals. NYOWA Director Fred Zalcman noted, in a year-end review, that six new Wind Energy Areas proximate to New York were leased to developers, several hundreds of millions of dollars were committed to local manufacturing and port development, and construction started on the state’s first offshore wind project. “Clearly, New York’s investment in this new industry is beginning to pay off,” Zalcman said.
Some of the year’s more notable achievements included:
- The start of construction of the 130 MW South Fork Wind Farm, the first utility-scale offshore wind project in New York. When completed, South Fork Wind Farm will generate enough electricity to power over 70,000 Long Island homes.
- The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management award of six new offshore wind leases in the New York Bight, comprising nearly a half-million acres and capable of supporting up to 12,000 MW of offshore wind generation.
- The announcement by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) of the third offshore wind solicitation, now underway, seeking at least 2,000 MW of new offshore wind capacity. Together with earlier bid rounds, this solicitation puts New York in a position to achieve its nation-leading goal of 9,000 MW by 2035, that is, ahead of schedule.
- Contracts executed by the developers of New York’s first five offshore wind projects with several suppliers for the manufacturing of offshore wind components, including wind towers and transition pieces in the Capital Region at the Port of Albany, and advanced steel components in Wellsville (Alleghany County, NY) and the Port of Coeymans (Albany County, NY).
- Significant steps forward on establishment of the National Offshore Wind Training Center, dedicated to preparing the region’s workforce for skilled jobs in the offshore wind sector. The year ended with the realization of major real estate and financial commitments by state and county governments, project developers, and organized labor for hosting and operating the center in Suffolk County, Long Island.
- Execution of a historic agreement for the redevelopment of a 73-acre site within the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park, Brooklyn for the staging of construction, operations, and maintenance for several offshore wind projects. The project developer also earmarked $5 million towards an Offshore Wind Ecosystem Fund to support sustainable growth, empowerment of underserved areas, and climate justice in the offshore wind ecosystem in New York City.
- Landmark agreements reached by project developers and national environmental groups for the protection of the critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whale during offshore wind construction and maintenance activities.
- The appropriation by the New York State Legislature of $500 million to leverage private investments in ports infrastructure and supply chain dedicated to the offshore wind industry in the state. Proposals for the first $300 million tranche of this supply chain investment funding are now being sought.
“Looking forward to 2023, New York needs to build on this fantastic progress by awarding new contracts, with associated economic development, that will allow New York to achieve its nine-gigawatt offshore wind generation target,” Zalcman said. “New York also needs to make some key and timely decisions on transmission investments to facilitate the significant levels of offshore wind energy that will be needed beyond the nine gigawatts.”
In New York, the offshore wind marathon is underway. The finish line is still around the corner. But it is getting closer.
Fred Zalcman is director of the New York Alliance for Offshore Wind, a diverse coalition of organizations with a shared interest in promoting the responsible development of offshore wind power for New York. NYOWA is a project of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACE NY).
NYOWA | www.nyowa.org