The developer of offshore wind projects must keep their word

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Offshore wind is full of promise. It promises to help purify our air, stabilize our climate, grow our economy and provide good jobs to support families. To keep these promises, the companies that develop these projects must keep their commitments.

Equinor, the developer of two proposed offshore wind projects for southern Long Island, is currently trying to move away from a key commitment to jobs and the environment.

Two years ago, Equinor won the contract to build the Empire Wind 1 offshore wind project largely because of its promise to use New York-made gravity foundations, which were to be assembled in the port of Coeymans, just south of Albany.

The proposal was more expensive than others, but New York City determined that the economic benefits of building the foundation in the state were worth it. Announcing the selection, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority said, “New York will become the base for regional gravity-based substructure operations, developing a new technology industry that will create and maintain advantages. material economic benefits for New Yorkers as well as for Environmental Benefits. “

These foundations are quieter to install and therefore safer for marine life, especially the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. Gravity foundations are floated to the project site and sunk, creating less disturbance to wildlife than other alternatives.

These foundations could be laid all year round at this site, which will become more and more important as the projects gain momentum and more and more are built at the same time. Respecting this commitment is crucial to maximize the full economic development potential of this project.

We ask Equinor to stick to its original plans for wildlife, workers and the future of offshore wind.

In addition, Equinor has declared its commitment to develop the country’s first offshore wind supply chain to support the construction, installation and operation of foundations for quieter offshore wind projects. The investment to build the foundations in New York would have created hundreds of jobs in the region and positioned our ports as a regional leader in this new industry.

The offshore wind industry must earn the trust of the public. When a company goes back on its commitments, it undermines not only confidence in that company, but in the industry as a whole.

We all want offshore wind to keep its promise. For it to be successful in New York and all along the East Coast, we need to make sure that the development is done right. Cutting corners and stepping away from commitments will undermine public support and confidence in this industry. We believe Equinor must live up to its commitment. To be a leader in the industry, responsible companies must show that they can protect endangered species, create jobs and grow the economy.

Francine Kershaw is a senior marine biologist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. Rebecca Nowatchik is the North East Regional Program Manager at the BlueGreen Alliance.


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