Equinor and bp have created a fund to help pay for workforce development and support community-empowerment aspects of New York’s nascent offshore wind industry.
The companies are partners in the Empire Wind and Beacon Wind projects planned for construction off the coast of New York. They announced the fund Tuesday with the New York City Economic Development Corp. and the Sunset Park Task Force.
The Offshore Wind Ecosystem Fund will help fund job education and training; bring employment and small-business opportunities to historically marginalized communities; and help bring minority- and women-owned business (M/WBE) enterprises into the burgeoning industry.
State law mandates 9 GW of offshore wind capacity be installed by 2035, and some scenarios being considered would entail 20 GW installed by 2050.
Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood will be a focal point of the offshore wind initiative, as a staging and assembly port is built there, and there is a concerted effort to offer the people who live there a chance to benefit from the development.
“The Offshore Wind Ecosystem Fund is bringing an integrated approach to environmental justice in Brooklyn,” Borough President Antonio Reynoso said in a news release. “Not only will these grants accelerate our clean energy efforts, but they will also open up green careers to new generations and empower small businesses owned by minorities, women and service-disabled veterans to participate in the offshore wind industry.”
Amanda Farias, chair of the City Council’s Economic Development Committee, said: “I am excited to see the attention that the NYCEDC, Equinor and the Sunset Park Task Force are paying to the intersectional needs of our workforce. To recover equitably, we must put our Black, brown and minority communities first. This grant does just that by making sure our offshore wind sector is focusing on M/WBEs, [service-disabled veteran-owned businesses] and environmental justice communities.”
Doreen Harris, CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, said: “This Ecosystem Fund will support communities like Sunset Park with a pathway to provide historical knowledge and local expertise for workforce training and development initiatives — and guide community investments that will best serve their neighborhoods and the broader development of offshore wind projects.”