Brooklynites gather to learn where the wind will take them

SUNSET PARK — It was a science fair on steroids. 

Residents, union members, engineers and politicians gathered on Wednesday in Sunset Park to learn about Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind, two offshore wind turbine projects that are currently underway. The initiatives support Governor Cuomo’s goal to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035 and establish a carbon-free electricity sector by 2040. 

“I’m here to learn how to save the world,” said native Brooklynite Grace Kerr, 63. “I want to be more involved in alternative energy sources. I know nothing about it, and now I have a good idea of the immense planning that goes into everything.” 

The packed-out open house hosted by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) took place at Sims Municipal Recycling, 29th Street and Second Avenue.  

“Anyone who lives in New York knows we have an abundant coastline that can serve this new industry,” said Doreen Harris, vice president of large-scale renewables at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). “And what you’re going to hear about tonight is the specific value that these projects can bring to New York from an economic development perspective.”

According to the presenters, the two projects are slated to produce 1,696 megawatts of offshore wind energy, over 1,600 jobs and $3.2 billion in economic activity. Together, they represent the nation’s single largest renewable energy procurement by any state in U.S. history. 

“We’re working to make sure that the workforce matches our investment in this industry, that the workforce is going to reflect the city of New York, as it exists right now,” said State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery, who represents portions of Sunset Park.

Sunrise Wind, executed by Bay State Wind LLC, a joint venture of Ørsted A/S and Eversource Energy, calls for as many as 100 turbines to be erected about 30 nautical miles off the coast of Montauk. Empire Wind, executed by Equinor US Holdings, Inc., will develop a project at a similar scale off the coast of Jones Beach. 

 “I’ve always been interested in wind turbines. I visited Iowa 20 years ago, and saw wind turbines as far as the eye could see,” said Brooklynite Paul Malides, 64. “I’m glad New York is finally coming around.”

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