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Equinor establishes union partnership for New York’s first offshore wind hub

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Energy Global,

Empire Wind and the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and Vicinity (BCTC) have announced the signing of a project labour agreement (PLA) for the construction of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT). The revitalised SBMT will play a key role in Equinor’s development of the Empire Wind offshore wind project as a staging and assembly site and as a home for the project’s operations and maintenance base.

This first-of-its-kind PLA for Equinor is a commitment to building SBMT responsibly with the help of New York’s highly skilled union construction workforce. The agreement will establish working standards, industry-leading safety practices, and equity in the construction of the terminal, creating over 1000 union construction jobs and apprenticeships in local New York communities, as well as thousands of indirect jobs in manufacturing, shipping and logistics.

The PLA also promotes engagement with Minority and Women-Owned Busi-nesses (MWBE) and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and includes a local hire requirement that gives priority to union members who are Section 3 New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents, veterans, and those who live in Sunset Park.

“This PLA ensures that SBMT’s construction will provide union jobs with family-sustaining wages, industry-leading safety standards, and robust and equitable training programs to help communities from across New York City enter this new industry,” said Molly Morris, President of Equinor Renewables Americas. “As the hub for Empire Wind, SBMT will play a transformational role in the development of the offshore wind industry and deliver more than renewable energy generated off New York’s shores. It will spur a durable new industry for the Empire State. We would like to also acknowledge Senator Chuck Schumer’s key efforts in standing with our industry and our project through turbulent economic headwinds. Senator Schumer’s leadership and partnership with us, along with so many others, including the Biden administration, Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams, were critical in ensuring the success of the Empire Wind project and milestones like the one we are so proud to announce today.”

The agreement also ensures labour harmony during the construction of SBMT, establishes uniform wages and benefits, and ensures a steady supply of New York labour throughout the project.

Construction at SBMT is expected to begin next week, starting with the demolition of existing outbuildings, excavation of the site, and bulkhead preparation work. Contracts covered by the agreement include Skanska, GE-BOND and Nexans.

Beyond the signing of the PLA, Empire Wind has invested millions of dollars through its Ecosystem Fund to work with New York-based groups to educate and train New Yorkers for future jobs that will be created within offshore wind.

The BCTC is an organisation of local building and construction trade unions that are affiliated with 15 International Unions in the North American Building Trades Union. The local union affiliates represent approximately 100 000 union construction workers in the New York City region.

“The creation of offshore wind not only propels New York towards its climate goals, but also represents an opportunity to create thousands of good paying union careers, bolster our middle class, and provide our local communities with much needed economic stimulus,” added Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and Vicinity. “The signing of this PLA is a crucial step in capitalising on this for the Empire Wind project, and we thank Equinor for their collaboration on it. This agreement will work to ensure New York’s hardworking tradesmen and tradeswomen are able to seize these opportunities and work in an environment with strong safety standards, family-sustaining wages, and good benefits, all of which will help our city and state make the most out of the clean energy transition.”

“GE Vernova is proud to collaborate with Equinor on the Empire Wind project, a landmark initiative that exemplifies our shared commitment to advancing renewable energy solutions. The PLA underscores our collective commitment to fostering a skilled, sustainable workforce in New York. In partnership with Bond Civil & Utility, GE Vernova will deliver the onshore substation and interconnection cable at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT), as well as design and supply the high-voltage electrical systems for the offshore substation. The project will greatly benefit from the use of local skills, ensuring its high quality and timely completion,” commented Johan Bindele, Grid Systems Integration Leader at GE Vernova's Grid Solutions business.

“The SBMT port infrastructure investment by Equinor is a major step in the energy transition and we are looking forward to engaging with the New York work-force on building the transformative energy projects that will be supported by this investment,” said Emmanuel Martin-Lauzer, Director of Business Development, Nexans.



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