Deepwater Wind LLC, the company building the only U.S. offshore wind farm, is looking at a Brooklyn waterfront site as a staging ground as it pursues a potential project off the south shore of Long Island, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
Securing the waterfront site, the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, would be Deepwater’s first step toward building the wind farm that would generate clean power for New York City, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private.
The move is part of Deepwater’s efforts to make turbines more common in U.S. waters. It also comes as environmentalists urge New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to harness offshore wind to fulfill his goal of having the city government eventually operate solely on electricity from renewable sources.
“We’ve got one of the best sources of offshore wind in the county, right off Long Island,” Dan Sherrell of the Sierra Club said in an interview Wednesday. “It’s literally the Saudi Arabia of wind.”
Offshore wind in the U.S. has long been stymied by high costs. That’s starting to change, and Deepwater began construction in July on a 30-MW wind farm in Rhode Island waters, the first in the country. It’s also announced plans for projects near Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts and along the New Jersey shore. The Providence, Rhode Island-based company declined to comment on the Brooklyn proposal.
The South Brooklyn Marine Terminal has been mostly vacant for decades. In November, the city issued a request for proposals to use the 72-acre site as an industrial maritime facility. Bids are due March 4. Ian Fried, a spokesman for the city’s Economic Development Corp., and de Blasio’s spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick both declined to comment.
Deepwater has approached two local companies to explore possible partnerships in connection to the project, the person said — Red Hook Container Terminal, a freight-transport facility north of the marine terminal, and Industry City, a nearby manufacturing complex being redeveloped as a center for artists, tech startups and manufacturers.
Deepwater’s Long Island project will face multiple hurdles, including securing a lease from the federal government to develop the site and arranging a long-term agreement to sell the power to New York City. The U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is working to set the boundaries and is planning to auction development rights for the 127-square mile site, 11 nautical miles south of the city of Long Beach, though no date has been set.
© 2016 Bloomberg
Lead image: Brooklyn Bridge. Credit: Shutterstock.