NY: State to Create Training Institute for Wind Farm Workers
8 Jan, 2020
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said the state will spend $20 million to create a training institute on Long Island, N.Y., for prospective employees of planned offshore wind farms.
The offshore wind training institute will be housed at Stony Brook University and Farmingdale State College and will begin enrolling students next year. It's expected to train 2,500 over the next five years.
Cuomo’s announcement follows a pledge by wind farm developer Orsted to invest $10 million in a training center at Suffolk County Community College. Orsted, which is based in Denmark, reached an agreement with the state last year for a wind farm off Montauk.
In July, Cuomo announced the most ambitious offshore wind initiative in the country: the Orsted farm and another farm south of Jones Beach to be developed by Norway-based Equinor. Together, the two wind farms would produce 1,700 megawatts, or enough electricity to power more than one million homes, by 2024.
Kevin Law, president of the Long Island Association business group, said the training institute will help prepare residents for jobs in a new industry. The Cuomo-appointed Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, which Law helps to lead, has been working for months to assess how the region can meet the needs of wind farm developers.
To be hired for some wind farm jobs, prospective employees must have earned a certification from the Global Wind Organization. The trade group has established standards for safety and certifications that apply to the construction and operation of wind farms.
"The wind industry has great promise with the potential to be economically and environmentally transformative for our region. This may well become the most significant large-scale project in Long Island’s recent history," said Farmingdale State President John Nader.
At Stony Brook, interim university president Michael A. Bernstein said its College of Engineering and Applied Sciences can give students an expertise in "wind resource assessment, wind turbine and wind-farm project design and optimization, offshore-wind project economics, public policy, social acceptance and environmental impacts, as well as energy storage and grid integration.”