Offshore Wind Power Necessary for Reaching NY Climate Goals

Labor, Residents Voice Support for Strong Offshore Wind Projects
Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Contact: Jessica Enzmann, jessica.enzmann@sierraclub.org, (631) 807-0428

Emily Pomilio, emily.pomilio@sierraclub.org, (480) 286-0401

Gordian Raacke, Gordian@RELI.org (516)313-6611

Long Island, NY — The New York State Energy Research and Development (NYSERDA) is hosting a series of informational open houses throughout the month to provide the latest updates on the state's plan for offshore wind development. Tuesday’s Brookhaven meeting included details on the two proposed projects from Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind.

These two large-scale offshore wind projects will generate enough power to supply 1 million homes with electricity. By 2035, NYSERDA hopes to generate enough clean energy from the turbines to power 6 million homes. The projects are necessary for the state to accomplish the goals set by it’s recent climate legislation, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), designed to mitigate the impacts of the climate crisis. 

By requiring developers to work with labor and community groups, NYSERDA can ensure local, good-paying, family wage jobs through manufacturing opportunities from offshore wind. Coupled with further investments in rooftop solar, energy efficiency, and grid upgrades like battery storage, New York can become a leader in addressing the climate crisis and help the state meet its legal requirement of reaching a 100 percent carbon free electricity by 2040. 

The Sierra Club, labor unions, allied groups, and local residents attended the open houses and voiced their support for strong environmental protections, community benefits, and labor standards in New York’s increasing investment in offshore wind. 

The below organizations provided their response: 

“While we love hearing the details of the two proposed projects, we need to continue pushing more to reach the goals we set with the Climate Legislation Community Protection Act (CLCPA),” Jessica Enzmann, Long Island Organizing Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign said. “This month has been full of climate coverage in New York and nationally, so now is the time to be more aggressive with our clean energy commitments. Not only do we need increased offshore wind, but we must make sure that these contracts are just, equitable and provide strong labor standards, setting a good example for future development in the state and in the country.”

"The swift and responsible development of offshore wind power is an absolute necessity for reaching the goals set forth in New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA),” Daniel Busi, LEED AP BD+C, Managing Director of the US Green Building Council-Long Island Chapter said. “We have the opportunity to set an example that the rest of the United States and developing world can follow, and it is of the utmost importance that we proceed without delay. Given our position both geographically and economically, Long Island has incredible potential to be an innovative hub for this emerging U.S. market.”

“New York has committed to a climate-friendly economy powered by renewable energy and harvesting our abundant offshore wind resource is a key component of this transformation,” Gordian Raacke, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Long Island said. “We applaud the State of New York and NYSERDA for leading the nation in building the infrastructure and industries urgently needed to solve the climate crisis.”

“The New York Offshore Wind Alliance (NYOWA), a coalition of businesses, labor, environmental and other non-profit organizations and offshore wind developers, applauds Governor Cuomo’s and the Legislature’s efforts to make New York the offshore wind hub of the United States,” NYOWA Director Joe Martens said. “Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind, the first two competitively selected offshore wind projects, will generate 1,600 good-paying jobs, billions in economic activity both upstate and downstate, and jumpstart the state’s efforts to comply with the newly signed Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.” 

“Long Island, and especially the East End, will be on the front lines of the devastating consequences of climate change,” Judith Hope, Founder of Win with Wind said. “It is urgent that we also be in the forefront of the alternative energy solution!”

“We recognize the great accomplishment of  the passage of the New York State Climate Leadership and Protection Act.  Now, we will work as hard as we can here on Long Island to ensure the spirit and goals of this historical legislation become a reality,” Cate Rogers, Chairperson, Peconic Region Chapter of The Climate Reality Project said. “Clean renewable energy will become the new normal in New York!”

“Developing a robust offshore wind program off of Long Island is key to New York’s efforts to combat climate change. The Governor deserves credit for helping to kickstart this effort but we need local residents, businesses, and elected officials to work together to make this happen,” Mark Dunlea, Chair of the Green Education and Legal Fund said. “While there are legitimate concerns about the siting and environmental impacts of any major project, the future of life on our planet makes it imperative that all parties work together cooperatively and quickly to implement workable solutions.”

"Offshore wind farms can help reduce the negative consequences from climate change to our coastal communities, but they are not without impacts,” Amanda Moore, Co-Chair, Central Long Island Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation said. “We must ensure that any wind projects protect our coastal economy and environment."

“With the climate strike upon us, we need responsible development of off shore wind to avert climate change and stop using damaging fossil fuels and nuclear power,” George Povall of All Our Energy said. “We’re glad the people involved are here this week in their ongoing process to answer the public’s questions and concerns and move that forward.”

“The Long Island labor movement is very encouraged that the State of New York has reached an agreement with two developers to supply offshore wind energy and initiate the state’s clean energy future,” John R. Durso, President of the Long Island Federation of Labor, said.  “We look forward to hearing about the commitments to negotiate labor agreements and make Long Island a national center for training to support union jobs in this emerging industry.”

New York is poised to be a global leader in the fight against climate change, but we cannot get there without offshore wind. The two recently announced projects, which will power over 1 million homes, coupled with the years of work on the Offshore Wind Master Plan and additional offshore wind leases, will ensure that we can finally transition away from fossil fuels and do our part to protect our coastal communities,” Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment said. “We are in a time of climate crisis. We can no longer afford to delay, to ignore the science, to be afraid of change or to continue with the status quo. Countries in Europe and Asia have spent the last decade developing offshore wind farms and the technology continues to improve. We are thrilled that New York is working to bring our nation into the 21st century and lead in the fight for offshore wind.” 

Source: https://www.sierraclub.org/press-releases/2019/09/offshore-wind-power-necessary-for-reaching-ny-climate-goals#


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