Equinor, the Norwegian company leading the construction of the wind farm hub off of Sunset Park, is calling on New Yorkers in the industry to apply for grants of up to $900,000. The $5 million program aims to help fund wind power-related businesses based the Big Apple.
Officials hope the grants will incentivize the creation of jobs and strengthen education and training in the clean energy field — and they’re open to just about any business or organization with initiatives to foster innovation that contributes to the growth of the offshore wind ecosystem.
Equinor expects the funds to go to small businesses, minority and women-owned enterprises, officials said at a Nov. 15 press conference at Brooklyn Grange.
“This initiative will help spur a new pipeline of creative ideas and talented people from across the city,” said Equinor Wind US President Molly Morris. The fund is one of her first initiatives in the role.
New York City has already committed $191 million to offshore wind projects — including $57 million for the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal project, slated to transform the shipping, warehousing, and manufacturing space into an operations and maintenance hub for offshore wind farms.
The SBMT project is one of five related to offshore wind currently in development in New York. In total, they are expected to power more than 2.4 million homes, and bring a combined economic impact of $21.1 billion to the state.
Equinor’s British partner BP and the nonprofit quasi-governmental New York City Economic Development Corporation teamed up to launch the new grant program.
“We’re investing to support equity within the offshore-wind sector, help people develop skills for the future energy system and build greater workforce resilience,” said Dave Lawler, chairman and president of BP America.
Equinor’s projects are planned to provide New York State with 3.3 gigawatts of energy—enough to power nearly two million homes. 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.
Operations are expected to start in 2024 once the permitting processes are completed, according to Lauren Shane, Equinor’s communications manager.
“These are the green jobs that will not only ensure that we meet our city’s climate goals of 100% clean electricity by 2040, but will also meet our goals for a just economic recovery,” said Councilmember Amanda Farias, chair of the city’s Committee on Economic Development.
In the meantime, local electeds were among those to applaud Equinor’s new funding initiative.
“The Offshore Wind Ecosystem Fund is bringing an integrated approach to environmental justice in Brooklyn,” Borough President Antonio Reynoso said in a statement.
Applications are now open.