Long Island suppliers, unions look to harness wind power
With offshore wind power projects on the horizon, manufacturers and unions on Long Island are looking to play a role in the emerging industry.
“We want everyone to benefit,” including business, environmental and labor, said Representative Thomas R. Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), who hosted a wind energy conference on Friday to bring together local suppliers to the mix.
As climate change brings droughts, fires and floods, he said, the transition to carbon-free energy production is urgent, he said. “This is real life and death.”
One of the panelists, Siri Espedel Kindem, chairman of Equinor Wind US, a unit of Equinor ASA, based in Stavanger, Norway, said regional contractors have a wide range of opportunities such as construction , transport and manufacture of cables.
“It’s not just about the wind turbines,” he said, “but also the infrastructure that needs to be built”.
Panelist Ross Gould, vice president of supply chain development at the nonprofit Business Network for Offshore Wind, said the 8,000 components that go into an offshore wind turbine provide ample opportunity for suppliers.
Tom Montalbine, president of Roman Stone Construction at Bay Shore, a manufacturer of concrete products for infrastructure, sees wind power as an attractive market.
“We’re looking to get a piece of that,” he said during the talk held at LIU Post’s Tilles Center for the Performing Arts.
New York has five offshore wind projects under development, according to the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency.
Empire Wind, an 819 megawatt facility from Equinor and its partner BP about 14 miles from Jones Beach, is expected to go into commercial operation in 2024.
Empire Wind 2, a nearby 1,260 megawatt facility, is also under development by Equinor, with commercial operation expected in 2026.
NYSERDA also selected Equinor for a third contract, Beacon Wind, a 1,230 megawatt project 60 miles from Montauk Point.
The state agency estimates that Beacon Wind and Empire Wind 2 will generate more than 5,200 “direct” jobs and a total economic activity worth $ 8.9 billion in labor, supplies, development and employment. statewide manufacturing.
Offshore wind power projects have come under criticism from the commercial fishing industry, which has expressed concerns about safety and maritime congestion on major fishing routes.
But panelist Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said wind power faces political setback at a time when development is expected to accelerate.
“Opponents come out” despite evidence of climate change such as droughts, fires, floods and ocean acidification, she said. “We have to put our finger on the fast forward button.”