STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Developers of a vacant tract of land on the South Shore have been vying for a $200 million grant to create the city’s first wind turbine assembly operation, but are facing stiff competition from a Brooklyn port.
Staten Island’s Arthur Kill Terminal (AKT) is described as a “key player” in the East Coast’s growing wind energy industry, but the undeveloped nature of the site may be a disadvantage when it comes to early selection for state investment, possibly setting it line behind sites that have more infrastructure in place.
AKT has been a contender for a $200 million investment from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for an offshore wind port development program, but earlier this week Sen. Charles Schumer and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams endorsed the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT) for the NYSERDA grant.
Schumer and Williams said SBMT should receive the grant to fund development of the city’s first wind turbine assembly center because of a quicker infrastructure build out than AKT – although Schumer also recognized Staten Island’s potential importance in the wind industry.
An assembly center in New York City could be a centerpiece of the offshore wind power supply chain along the East Coast – pieces of the towering wind turbines would be assembled at the port site before being shipped off to wind farms located in the Atlantic Ocean.
AKT has the unique advantage of being outside of bridges, meaning specialized transport vessels carrying tall jack-up legs for the wind turbines would have nothing to pass under on their way out to the ocean. There are currently no ports in the mid-Atlantic that are outside of bridges.
Even so, the speed of the industry’s development led Schumer and Williams to encourage the state to look at Brooklyn’s site as an opportunity to be first in a battle with other East Coast states to serve the off-shore wind farms.
“The fact that SBMT can be set up and running quickly underscores its decisive advantages for NYSERDA’s consideration of investment as New York looks to gain a foothold in the offshore wind supply chain,” said a joint letter from Schumer and Williams to NYSERDA’s acting President and CEO Doreen Harris.
The NYSERDA grant is expected to be just the first in a series of state investments in the wind industry – meaning that, even if another site is chosen, funding to AKT could be close behind.
When asked specifically about AKT, Schumer said, “Arthur Kill Terminal on Staten Island is critical to New York’s future in offshore wind development and is a win-win that can ensure wind technology is made in New York, create countless good-paying, union jobs and meet the pollution reductions and clean energy goals established by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.”
ARTHUR KILL TERMINAL IS ‘KEY TO NEW YORK’S OFFSHORE WIND GOALS’
The potential developer of AKT Atlantic Offshore Terminals, is in a purchase agreement with Riverside Galleria to acquire the more than 30-acre property, located south of the Outerbridge Crossing in Richmond Valley, to build the port facility with wind turbine staging and assembly.
Charles Dougherty, chief commercial officer for Atlantic Offshore Terminals, and Boone Davis, president and CEO, said they see Staten Island as one of the highest potential developments for wind in the country.
They believe that Brooklyn’s SBMT would be complimentary to AKT and said it has an “undeniable function in the supply chain,” but said AKT is a unique opportunity that also deserves support from the government – as Schumer mentioned in his release.
There are several offshore wind projects planned to interconnect New York and New Jersey by 2035, said Davis, and he calls AKT the key.
“We have a strong view that’s based on our experience in offshore wind and what was proposed for AKT is really the key to New York’s offshore wind goals,” Dougherty and Davis told the Advance/SILive.com.
“Not only building nine gigawatts by 2035 but establishing New York as the supply chain hub for offshore wind,” he continued.
ODDO: AKT WOULD GIVE STATEN ISLAND A NEW ECONOMIC IDENTITY
Borough President James Oddo said Staten Island’s geography – which can sometimes pose challenges – is a definite advantage in this case.
“Brooklyn can’t bring in those vessels and can’t assemble the way Staten Island can – but it’s not a competition. They would complement each other; it’s a smaller piece of the larger picture,” Oddo told the Advance/SILive.com when asked about the SBMT possibly getting the initial NYSERDA grant over Staten Island.
Oddo has continuously advocated for AKT, saying it would not only poise Staten Island as a key player in wind energy and there would be tremendous environmental benefits, but it would create “mega jobs” and give the borough a new economic identity.
“The only way to create jobs the way the state wants to is with a facility like the one Atlantic Offshore Terminals would create; you can’t get complete share of the market and compete against other states without Atlantic Offshore Terminals,” he said.
“I think the Governor is a competitive guy and no way I think he will allow New Jersey to eat New York’s lunch on wind,” he said.
Schumer echoed Oddo, saying, “With the right investment in Arthur Kill Terminal and other ports across the state, New York will be positioned to lead in offshore wind development and maximize the number of Staten Islanders and New Yorkers put to work building a clean economy.”
OFFSHORE WIND EXPECTED VALUE TO BE BILLIONS IN NEXT TWO DECADES
Davis explained the market for offshore wind has an expected value of $70 billion in spending over the next 15 to 20 years – and New York and New Jersey comprise about 60% of that market.
Between 2024 and 2035, off the mid-Atlantic region in New York and New Jersey, there will be 12.5 gigawatts of wind farms installed, which is about 1,000 wind turbines.
“A thousand new turbines need to be installed off the coast and we will be the closest and best port to support the assembly of those 1,000 turbines,” Davis said.
After about 25 years, the turbines will need to be analyzed for their performance and structural stability – which the port facility can support.
“The key from New York’s perspective is making an investment that’s going to have the biggest impact – not just on Staten Island – but throughout the state in terms of economic opportunity and creation of jobs, and what you want to do is attract the full supply chain,” he said.
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