NEW YORK – New York’s push for offshore wind power is getting a boost from labor unions.
The Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau and Suffolk Counties and the Long Island Federation of Labor joined this week with nearly 30 environmental, business and labor groups to support the development of offshore wind.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants New York to build 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2035.
Joe Martens, director of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance, says labor has a strong incentive to support the rapid, responsible development of offshore wind – with its potential for thousands of good-paying jobs.
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“Labor unions are going to provide the workforce that is going to hopefully propel this brand new industry forward in New York, and in the United States,” says Martens.
In his 2019 budget address, the governor proposed dedicating up to $200 million for offshore wind port development and infrastructure, and investing in a workforce training center.
Martens points out that – for workers – this is just the beginning. Northeastern states alone are planning to build offshore wind farms to harvest nearly 20 gigawatts of electric power.
“That will happen over many years, so you’re going to have construction activities for a decade or more to meet the current goals,” says Martens. “And then, longer term, there is operation and maintenance of these facilities.”
Martens notes that New York’s location, ports and proximity to viable sites could make it a northeast regional hub for offshore wind development.
“We hope that New York draws a lot of those businesses, because we are so centrally located in the middle of all of the demand for offshore wind,” says Martens. “But everyone is going to benefit from the development of this industry.”
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is currently reviewing bids on the first state effort to construct an offshore-wind installation.