NYC prepares for $200 to $250 million South Brooklyn Marine Terminal retrofits for offshore wind port set-up

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brooklyn terminal rendering
Rendering of the future South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (from Equinor)

New York plans to turn city-owned South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT) into one of the largest offshore wind port facilities in the nation.

As part of the deal finalized by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), Equinor, its partner — bp — and Sustainable South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, L.P. (SSBMT) will upgrade and build out the terminal as an operations and maintenance base, NYC Mayor Eric Adams’ office said in a March 3 statement.

Equinor says it will spend between $200 million and $250 million in infrastructure upgrades to retrofit the port hub.

“The terminal will become a power interconnection site for the Empire Wind 1 project , and heavy lift platforms will be built on the 39th Street Pier for wind turbine staging and installation for Equinor and other developers,” the statement says. “The port will serve as a hub to support the Empire Wind and Beacon Wind offshore wind farms.”

NYCEDC also partnered with Equinor and the community to support workforce training for a diverse pool of local residents to bolster opportunities for New Yorkers created by investments in offshore wind infrastructure.

The agreement expands the target of minority- and women-owned business enterprise (M/WBE) contractors based in and registered with New York City or New York State, with a 30 percent M/WBE participation goal; and will support technical assistance for M/WBE and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises to create more opportunities for participation in this sustainable growth industry. Additionally, the agreement ensures the development will be a low-emissions facility.

“With this investment, the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal will soon be transformed into one of the largest offshore wind port facilities in the nation,” Adams said in the statement.

This site will be the launch of a whole new industry for New York City that will support 13,000 local jobs over time, generate $1.3 billion in average annual investment citywide, and significantly reduce our carbon footprint so that we can meet our climate goals of 100 percent clean electricity by 2040. This is a transformative moment for New York City and our clean energy future — a future of sustainable power, good-paying jobs, and climate justice.”

equinor map
Map showing the location of future wind turbines, the Empire Wind and Beacon Wind projects. (Image from Equinor)

Equinor also committed to establishing a $5 million ecosystem fund to bring more NYC residents into offshore wind careers, propel offshore wind innovation, and support a just transition. Finally, Equinor is working to establish an offshore wind learning center —  accessible to the community — within its Brooklyn office.

In 2018, NYCEDC selected SSBMT — in a partnership between Industry City and Red Hook Terminals — as the leaseholder to reactivate the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal so that it can create a 21st-century maritime shipping hub with an on-site facility to train local talent.

Under this agreement, SSBMT is entering into a sublease with Equinor and bp until 2054 for its operations and maintenance base, and its onshore substation. Under the same agreement, Equinor and bp will have a 10-year term for turbine staging and installation activities with an option to extend the 10-year term for up to six additional years.

In the fall 2021, NYCEDC announced a 15-year Offshore Wind Vision Plan to make New York City a leading destination for the industry by developing best-in-class infrastructure to support the construction and operation of offshore wind farms in the New York Bight, including infrastructure to support manufacturing, staging and installation, operations and maintenance, and transmission.

The $191 million investment puts New York City on a path to reduce 34.5 million tons of CO2, as well as meet its goals of 100 percent clean electricity by 2040 and carbon neutrality by 2050. The Offshore Wind Vision Plan is aimed at creating more than 13,000 jobs and generate $1.3 billion in average annual investment, with 40 percent of job and investment benefits directed toward women- and minority-owned businesses and environmental justice communities. The New York Bight is the coastal area between Long Island and the New Jersey coast.

Rendering showing future wind turbine construction at SBMT (Equinor)

NYC’s goal is to have 70 percent of its energy consumption come from renewable sources by 2030. Under the nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York State has set goals of securing 70 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable energy by 2030 and the installation of nine gigawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Equinor and bp have contracts for three offshore wind projects in New York — totaling more than 3,000 megawatts of clean, renewable energy.

In January, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced the state finalized contracts for Equinor and bp’s Empire Wind 2 and Beacon Wind projects off Long Island, which unlocked an unprecedented public and private funding commitment of $644 million in port infrastructure, including more than $287 million for SBMT. As part of an award from NYSERDA, the developers will convert SBMT and the Port of Albany into large-scale offshore wind industry facilities, the statement says.

Further, in December 2021, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the full $25 million that the city requested from the federal Maritime Administration (MARAD) through the 2021 Port Infrastructure Development Grants (PIDP). The grant for the “SBMT 35th Street Pier Expansion Project” at Sunset Park is intended to add a barge berth and a heavy-lift crane pad on the western end of the 35th Street Pier.

The PIDP grant provides additional funds to expand on city, state, and Equinor funding for 39th Street Pier improvements, as well as Equinor’s operations and maintenance facility and Equinor’s interconnection substation. The addition of 35th Street Pier improvements increases SBMT’s cargo throughput capacity and operational efficiencies, allowing SBMT to further serve the growth of the offshore wind industry in NYC.

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