Sunset Park to house massive offshore wind turbine assembly plant

offshore wind
Equinor, whose wind farm off the coast of England is pictured here, will transform the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal into a wind turbine assembly plant.
Jan Arne Wold / Woldcam

The South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park will become an enormous new wind turbine assembly plant funded in part by New York State, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday morning.

“This is our path forward in stimulating the economy post-pandemic, and leading the way on protecting the environment,” the governor said during his annual State of the State address. 

The Sunset Park port, located just west of Industry City, will be used to assemble wind turbines the height of the Chrysler Building using parts that are manufactured upstate, according to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

The turbines will be shipped to three offshore wind farms off the coast of Long Island, where they will generate a total of 3.3 gigawatts of energy for the state — enough to power more than 1.8 million homes for a year.

The entire project will be operated by Norwegian energy company Equinor, in partnership with British Petroleum.

Two of Equinor’s wind farms were given the green light on Wednesday by NYSERDA, which awarded Equinor bids as part of the state’s 2020 offshore wind procurement. In its plans, Equinor named the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal as the wind turbine assembly site for both of its proposed wind farms.

A third Equinor wind farm that the state approved in 2019 will also use the Sunset Park site for its assembly operations. 

As part of the winning bid, the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal is slated to receive $200 million in infrastructure upgrades from the state, according to the solicitation. The state’s funding will be matched by $200 million in private funds, totaling $400 million in renovations for the dilapidated space, which has sat empty for years.

At 73 acres, the assembly plant will be one of the largest in the country, Equinor said. The port, which is slated to be up and running by 2025, will create 1,200 local manufacturing jobs, according to Cuomo. 

Those jobs will be a life-saver for Sunset Park, which has been hard-hit by COVID-19, one local environmentalist said.

‘This is good news part for a community that has been dealing with a loss of income, that’s on the brink of despair,” said Elizabeth Yeampierre, the executive director of the environmentalist group Uprose. “It’s really good news that there are going to be jobs. These victories are very important.”

The new wind farms also mark an important step in reaching the state’s ambitious goals set in the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which requires that 70 percent of the state’s energy be renewable by 2030.

“Today’s announcement will bring New York nearly half-way to its nation-leading target of 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind generating capacity by 2035, and will contribute to President-elect Biden’s goal of 100% carbon-free emissions from the electricity generating sector by 2050,” said the clean energy coalition New York Offshore Wind Alliance in a statement.