Wednesday, November 22, 2017
On land and on sea, wind power is coming into its own and the IBEW aims to be a key part of this growth industry in renewable energy.
It started in Rhode Island, where Providence Local 99 played a key role in the nation's first offshore wind farm near Block Island. That showed the power of early support for such projects and it's why the IBEW is part of a consortium of groups trying to bring such a facility to Long Island.
Deepwater Wind, which also developed the Block Island project, plans to build a 15-turbine farm about 30 miles off the southeast coast of Long Island, with fabrication and construction work starting in 2019.
"If we don't start working on it now, it will never happen," said Tim McCarthy, a business representative for Long Island, N.Y., Local 25. "We need to be proactive with our politicians."
McCarthy said local officers initially are hoping for a similar deal to the one Local 99 secured on the Block Island project that employed about 50 members. Some members constructed a temporary construction facility at the Port of Providence and others worked on the turbines there before they were shipped to sea.
Along with other groups, including Long Island Local 1049, Local 25 has proposed the long-shuttered Shoreham Nuclear Plant adjacent to Long Island Sound as a construction site, he said.
The island doesn't have a port facility that previously served as a manufacturing hub, which was readily available in Providence. But water surrounding it is mostly free of bridges, which kept developers from putting a potential wind farm closer to New York City. Shoreham offers a deep-water port that likely will not have to be dredged.
And, like Local 99 did with Deepwater Wind in Rhode Island, Local 25 and Local 1049 are trying to help with legislative and regulatory hurdles that may lie ahead. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's goal is to have 50 percent of New York's power generated by renewable energy sources by 2030, although there has been no legislation passed that specifically calls for the state to do so.