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LI officials: We want a piece of the jobs, investment wind farms will create

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Thursday that the state will contract for nearly 1,700 megawatts of offshore wind power, including around half to be connected to Long Island, with projects expected to be in service in 2024. Cuomo said the two projects would power 1 million homes and put 1,600 people to work. (Credit: News 12 Long Island)

Long Island wants a portion of the $3.2 billion in economic activity projected to come from two wind farms selected Thursday by New York State, officials said.

The farms, to be in the Atlantic Ocean off the South Shore, are expected to produce a combined 1,700 megawatts, or enough electricity to power 1 million homes.

Together, they expect to  create more than 1,600 jobs in Port Jefferson, Brooklyn and Albany.

One farm will connect to the Island’s electric grid in Brookhaven Town while the other will connect to a substation in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Construction of both will begin in 2022.

Nassau County officials said they are hoping to land a port and maintenance facility.

“This is a huge opportunity to create an industry out here,” said Richard Kessel, chairman of the county’s industrial development agency. “We are right in the middle of it. Why not Nassau County?”

He directed the agency’s staff on Thursday to examine the wind farm agreement signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and devise a plan to bring some of the jobs and investment to Nassau.

“Let’s determine what we can do … There are going to be thousands of jobs created and we want some of them,” said Kessel, who championed wind energy when he led the Long Island Power Authority. A wind farm proposed by LIPA was scuttled by then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

Kessel said he and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran met with one of the wind farm operators to tout the benefits of doing business in the county.

In Suffolk, County Executive Steve Bellone said the county is “ideally suited to become a hub of workforce development for the hundreds of high-skill, high-paying jobs of the future this project brings.”

The 880 MW Sunrise Wind project is being developed by Orsted and Eversource Energy, who plan to open a continental headquarters and a maintenance facility in Port Jefferson. The project will connect to the LIPA grid at the Holbrook and West-Bus substations in Brookhaven.

Kevin Law, president of the Long Island Association business group, predicted the wind farms would be followed by others and that the region will gain a new industry that offers “good-paying jobs and billions of dollars of investment.”

So far, it appears the Island will be home to office, operational and maintenance jobs. Turbines, towers and other components of the wind farms will be manufactured in upstate Coeymans, south of Albany, according to officials.

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