South Brooklyn Marine Terminal to turn into renewable energy hub off Sunset Park

The federal grant for the SBMT 35th Street Pier Expansion Project at Sunset Park is intended to add a barge berth and a heavy-lift crane pad on the western end of the 35th Street Pier.
Mayor’s office

Mayor Eric Adams announced on Thursday that the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT) will be turned into an offshore wind energy port facility.

The project will transform the shipping, warehousing, and manufacturing space into an operations and maintenance hub for offshore wind farms.

The nonprofit quasi-governmental New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), along with Norwegian fossil and renewable energy company Equinor, its British partner BP, and the city-owned terminal operators will be in charge of the project.

NYC — as well as the state — has set goals to shift away from fossil fuels by creating and depending solely on a new, electrified economy by 2040. This comes after the Biden administration leased nearly half a million acres of the Atlantic Ocean for offshore wind development in January in the largest and most lucrative auction of its kind to date.

Fourteen companies competed for the rights to develop wind farms on six areas of the New York Bight, a shallow stretch of sea that runs between Long Island and southern New Jersey.

Bids rose to $4.37 billion dollars. Bight Wind Holdings, a subsidiary of National Grid, won the rights to the largest tract for a whopping $1.1 billion, or $9,600 per acre. Other winning bids came from subsidiaries of oil and gas companies like Shell and Total, as well as international renewable energy companies like EDF Renewables. Only one U.S.-grown company, Invenergy, won the biding for a lease. 

When President Joe Biden stepped into office last year, he set a national goal of having 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power — enough to power 10 million homes — installed by 2030. Today, there are only two offshore wind farms in operation in the U.S. — the Block Island Wind Farm in Rhode Island and the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind pilot project — and they fulfill less than 1 percent of Biden’s ambition.

NYC has committed $191 million to offshore wind projects —including $57 million for the SBMT transition.

Currently, there are five offshore wind projects in development, which are expected to power more than 2.4 million NY homes and bring a combined economic impact of $12.1 billion to the state.

“I worked closely with Secretary Buttigieg to secure a critical $25 million federal grant to facilitate the transformation of South Brooklyn Marine Terminal into one of the largest offshore wind power projects in the nation,” said U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer.“The federal investment will support good paying, green jobs for a community that has borne the burden of pollution, while helping New York State reach its emissions goals.”

In September 2020, BP formed a partnership with Equinor to develop offshore wind and announced the acquirement of 50 percent non-operating stake in the Empire Wind off the NY and Beacon Wind projects at the Massachusetts offshore wind farms. Equinor also committed to establishing a $5 million ecosystem fund to “bring more NYC residents into offshore wind careers, propel offshore wind innovation, and support a just transition.”

The company is also expanding the Port of Albany to build turbine towers that will be shipped down the Hudson River to Sunset Park and it announced the establish of a community-accessible offshore wind learning center in its Brooklyn office.

NYCEDC stated mission is to “leverage the city’s assets to create good jobs and drive growth, ensuring equitable and sustainable development across all five boroughs.” The corporation committed to support a workforce training for diverse local residents including a goal of 30 percent participation from minority- and women-owned business enterprise contractors based in NYC or within the state.

Platforms for off-site wind turbine staging for Equinor and other developers will be built on the 39th Street Pier in Brooklyn. The agreement states the development will be a low-emissions facility.

The renewable energy industry is expected to support 13,000 local jobs over time and generate $1.3 billion in average annual investment citywide.

Currently, five offshore wind projects are in active development, which will power more than 2.4 million NY’s homes and bring a combined economic impact of $12.1 billion to the state. Brooklyn’s Sunset Park has long pushed to renew its industrial waterfront with green jobs. 

“We will continue to advance an equitable recovery and make our environment healthier,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer.