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Preparation continues for offshore wind manufacturing projects at Port of Albany

Albany Port District Commission Chair Georgette Steffens the wind project is expected to attract additional business to the port.
Dave Lucas
/
WAMC
Albany Port District Commission Chair Georgette Steffens says the wind project is expected to attract additional business to the facility.

Albany’s Offshore Wind Tower Manufacturing Port Project is forging ahead.

Albany Port District Commission Chair Georgette Steffens says the $357 million wind tower manufacturing facility at the Port of Albany in Bethlehem is on track to create jobs and revitalize the facility.

"We have an extremely aggressive time schedule so that Marmen Welcon can be in construction and deliver the tower pieces," said Steffens. "So at the Port of Albany, we're working hard. We just cleared all the trees at the land, we're getting ready to do some site prep work. And we also recently ordered the steel for the warehouse, right, because steel, supply chain issues, you know, we got to make sure that we're staying on top of the schedule that we have."

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Paul Tonko stopped by the port earlier this month to promote their Restoring Offshore Wind Opportunities Act. The Democrats' bill would reverse a Trump-era ban on new offshore wind leases. Gillibrand says the bill would benefit Albany’s port project, which is being supported by $30 million in federal funding.

"Not only would canceling this ban represent a crucial step toward improving America’s energy independence and global competitiveness, but it would also create jobs and allow for clean energy manufacturing in the Port of Albany and elsewhere along the Hudson River," said Gillibrand.

Tonko says funding for the port is already in play.

"With the bipartisan infrastructure act that was signed into law by the president, some of those dollars go towards port refurbishment, which will be very helpful for this local effort," Tonko said. "But I envision us as the epicenter of offshore wind, servicing the entire eastern seaboard. And that will require transportation of immense project products. When you have these towers, these foundations, the fins that are manufactured for the purposes of the wind turbines, you need a river like the Hudson River to transport these huge volumes of outcome. That will then enable us to create jobs, unionized jobs, it will enable us to deploy clean energy, have a green energy economy."

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan says the port is on track to deliver that green energy economy.

"Over the last eight years, we've seen tremendous growth here at the port as they continue to take advantage of our location that is quite strategic," said Sheehan. "And it is resulting in jobs now as well as jobs for the future. So as we look at what those opportunities are, we're out every day encouraging young people to think about welding, to think about advanced technology in manufacturing, to think about engineering. And these are attainable jobs that are reachable by people who have a high school diploma and can get into a certification program. We will pay for tuition. So there are jobs coming, and my message to our community is get ready. And we stand by ready to help make sure that that happens."

Steffens says the wind project is expected to attract additional business to the port.

"With the investment that the state and the federal government is making, we see a lot of interest in our region and being located here near the offshore wind tower manufacturing facilities," Steffens said. "So that really is the next step for us. How can we bring in suppliers? How can we find additional properties that we can develop for people who need to be close to other manufacturers, other component parts for the offshore wind industry that want to be located in and around the new offshore wind manufacturing facility?"

Officials anticipate that Capital Region wind projects at the Ports of Albany and Coeymans will reap some $14 billion in investments.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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