Offshore wind organization celebrates Engineers Week with NYC students

Offshore wind organization celebrates Engineers Week with NYC students.
Community Offshore Wind celebrated Engineers Week with New York City students.
Photo courtesy of Community Offshore Wind

Community Offshore Wind, a joint clean energy venture between RWE Renewables and National Grid, partnered with local schools across New York City and Long Island to cultivate student interest in STEM fields in celebration of National Engineers Week.

Starting Feb. 18, the organization sponsored 65 field trips for students from under-resourced communities to visit museums in partnership with local community centers in an effort to make science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education more accessible, and to encourage young people to consider careers in those fields.

Offshore wind power is the energy taken from wind forces out at sea by use of wind turbines. This renewable energy form is converted to electricity and subsequently supplied to populations on shore. Since wind is a constant source of energy and since there are carbon offsets for wind power, many large communities — like the Big Apple — are turning to this source as a new means of power, divesting from coal or oil. 

Some advantages of offshore wind are that the energy harvesting is done far away from local populations, eliminating concerns about noise, and its cost-effectiveness — since wind is an infinite source of energy, its use could lead to a significant decrease in energy bills for consumers. The offshore wind industry in the Northeastern US is also slated to create up to 60,000 new jobs, bolstering the economy.

Some downsides to offshore wind, however, are the potential threat to birds and other wildlife, as well as some infrastructural disruptions.

Students from the Red Hook Initiative visited the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, while students from the Joseph Miccio Community Center visited the New York Aquarium and students from the Long Beach Martin Luther King Center visited the Long Island Children’s Museum.

Community Offshore Wind representatives also visited a slate of Brooklyn schools, such as P.S. 676 Harbor Middle School in Red Hook, to speak to students about future career opportunities in renewable energy, along with the impacts of offshore wind and clean energy alternatives.

mini wind turbine
The state is actively developing a number of offshore wind facilities in an effort to transition to all-renewable energy.Photo courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

Community Offshore Wind has committed to investing $41 million in local economic development initiatives, $100,000 of which will be invested in educational programs aimed at encouraging students to think about pursuing careers in renewable energy fields.

“It’s encouraging to see a developer like Community Offshore Wind share our focus on inspiring younger generations and exposing them to new career pathways,” said Lynn Shon, a STEAM teacher at P.S. 676. “Our students know what offshore wind is, but not necessarily how many careers exist within offshore wind and STEM fields. With Community Offshore Wind, we are giving them access to opportunities they can pursue.”

As part of the local economic development initiatives Community Offshore Wind has pledged to take, the organization is expected to create over 800 jobs in STEM-related fields across New York. Part of this job-creating initiative is continual encouragement and resource support for young people thinking about jobs in these fields.

“Offshore wind, and the clean energy industry more broadly, will bring good jobs to New York,” said Doug Perkins, president and project director of Community Offshore Wind. “We need to introduce students to STEM early to spark a love of science and put them on the path to careers in clean energy. These field trips and school visits are just one of the many ways we are working together with our community partners in Brooklyn and across the state to ensure New Yorkers have the skills necessary to seize the opportunities that offshore wind creates.”

To learn more about Community Offshore Wind, visit communityoffshorewind.com.