Long Island’s Bright Horizon Depends on Sunrise Wind

By Matt Cohen | February 24, 2024

As a resident of New York and strong advocate for the prosperity of our communities, I am writing to express unwavering support for the advancement of Sunrise Wind, an offshore wind project by Ørsted and Eversource that is crucial to Long Island and New York State’s economic and environmental future.

New York State’s commitment to renewable energy, as outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), is commendable. But we must turn our aspirations into action, and offshore wind presents a historic opportunity for Long Island to lead the charge towards a sustainable future.

The benefits of offshore wind are multi-faceted. Not only does it promise to create thousands of high-paying jobs for our residents, but it also plays a pivotal role in combating climate change and mitigating the threat of rising sea levels, which pose significant risks to coastal communities.

Sunrise Wind, a project capable of powering nearly 600,000 homes each year, is the most mature large-scale offshore wind project in the state’s pipeline.  It is ready-to-build now, creating hundreds of direct jobs, and it has earned remarkably strong bi-partisan and community support in Suffolk County, the home of its onshore transmission footprint and a new Ørsted U.S. operations and maintenance headquarters that will be used to maintain it and other regional offshore wind projects for decades.

Moreover, the project’s strategic investments in workforce training and community benefits, including the National Offshore Wind Training Center in Brentwood, demonstrates a commitment to inclusive growth and sustainable development. These initiatives both enrich our communities and alleviate the burden on taxpayers, with funds from Sunrise Wind earmarked for vital infrastructure improvements.

However, the road to realizing the full potential of offshore wind is not without its challenges. Global events in recent years have posed obstacles to the economic viability of large-scale infrastructure projects like Sunrise Wind. Yet, abandoning this project would not only jeopardize the progress and investments made, but also entail significant setbacks, including loss of immediate job opportunities and the benefits of cleaner air for our communities.

We applaud the state for responding nimbly to the macroeconomic challenges that have affected the early waves of offshore wind projects by creating an accelerated offshore wind procurement process that allows Sunrise Wind to be competitively rebid, with awards expected soon.

As New York strives to fulfill its mandate under the CLCPA, it is imperative that we prioritize mature projects like Sunrise Wind that can deliver clean power and opportunities sooner, and which are welcomed by host communities.  Let us seize this moment to propel Long Island and the entire state towards a cleaner, brighter future—one powered by offshore wind.

When 2026 comes and we celebrate the completion of Sunrise Wind and the delivery of clean power to hundreds of thousands of homes annually, we will look back with pride knowing that we took bold steps to shape a more sustainable tomorrow.

Matt Cohen is President & CEO of the Long Island Association, the region’s leading business organization.


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