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Execs to seek inclusion of LI parts factories in wind farm construction

Two offshore wind turbines have been constructed off

Two offshore wind turbines have been constructed off the coast of Virginia Beach, Va. Credit: AP/Steve Helber

Leaders in business, labor and energy pledged on Monday to help Long Island manufacturers win contracts to supply component parts for the five offshore wind farms proposed for the region.

The executives acknowledged that the foundations, towers and turbines for the wind farms are to be constructed in upstate New York, principally in Albany and Buffalo. But some parts could come from factories in Nassau and Suffolk counties, they said.

"We need to address the supply chain … how can we encourage more of our manufacturing sector to grow?" said Roger Clayman, who has been developing training programs for prospective wind farm workers as executive director of the union umbrella group Long Island Federation of Labor.

The new National Offshore Wind Training Center at Suffolk County Community College will include "manufacturing laboratories" where students are taught to make composite parts. The center has received a $10 million grant from the wind farm developers Orsted and Eversource, he said.

Clayman was among 70 officials who attended the first meeting of the Long Island Association business group’s Offshore Wind Committee.

LIA CEO Matthew Cohen said during the hourlong virtual event that the committee’s formation shows the "huge" potential for wind farms to boost the local economy. Under agreements with the state, wind farm developers Orsted, Eversource and Equinor must ensure their five projects benefit the economies of downstate and upstate.

Long Island is to be home to maintenance facilities in Port Jefferson and Montauk, an office in East Setauket and electrical substations in East Hampton and Holbrook for Orsted/Eversource's South Fork Wind and Sunrise Wind projects. Equinor is planning a maintenance facility in Brooklyn and a substation in Island Park as part of its three wind farms.

"We hope some [manufacturing] will happen on Long Island, but certainly the assembly will happen on Long Island and then be taken offshore," said Robert B. Catell, chairman of the LIA committee and leader of two energy research centers at Stony Brook University.

Construction and operation of the five wind farms will create about 7,000 jobs statewide, including many for area construction workers who are represented by unions.

Jennifer Garvey, New York market affairs manager for Denmark-based Orsted, said it has begun hiring maintenance technicians for South Fork Wind, which will begin operating in late 2023 about 35 miles east of Montauk Point. Training takes up to two years, she said.

Garvey said local attorneys, lobbyists and engineers have been working for about four years on the permits and other regulatory approvals for the Orsted/Eversource wind farms.

Phil Andrews, president of the Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce, said its members are eager to work with the wind farm developers. "We want to keep a lot of the money flowing to Long Island small businesses," he said.

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