Equinor Establishes Major Union Partnership For New York’s First Offshore Wind Hub


Empire Wind and the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and Vicinity (BCTC) today announced the signing of a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for the construction of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT). The revitalized 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 1,000 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 Businesses (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 project labor agreement 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 labor harmony during the construction of SBMT, establishes uniform wages and benefits, and ensures a steady supply of New York labor 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 project labor agreement, 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 organization 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.  

Statements on the Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for the construction of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT):

“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,” said Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and Vicinity. “The signing of this Project Labor Agreement is a crucial step in capitalizing 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.” 

“I am so proud to stand together with my brothers and sisters in labor and partners at Equinor as we move forward together in our vision for a clean energy future that will tackle the climate crisis and provide good paying union careers to so many New Yorkers,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “I have championed South Brooklyn Marine Terminal and the offshore wind industry in New York for many years — securing major federal investment through the port infrastructure program, working to bring stakeholders together when the industry faced headwinds, and most of all through the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, a historic investment designed to make projects like this a reality. This is a victory for workers and New York communities and new chapter for our green economy.” 

Doreen M. Harris, NYSERDA President and CEO said, “Equinor’s commitment to ensuring a highly trained union workforce that will construct the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal represents New York’s advancement of an equitable transition to clean energy that brings good paying job opportunities and benefits to the residents who live and work in the communities hosting renewable energy projects. The agreement between Empire Wind and the New York State Building and Construction Trade Council demonstrates the power of partnerships and is a model for how to build inclusivity and high standards into this critical onshore piece of the offshore wind industry.” 

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner and Climate Action Council Member Roberta Reardon said, “I commend Empire Wind and the New York State Building and Construction Trade Council for this historic agreement, which is a victory for workers, unions, and for New York State. When Project Labor Agreements are in place, workers are appropriately compensated while ensuring projects of this magnitude are completed on time and on budget. This agreement supports Governor Hochul’s ongoing effort to ensure an environmentally responsible future for New York State.” 

“Today’s announcement is a win for New York and signifies the power of the green economy, a sector that will accelerate the creation of clean energy, build new infrastructure and stimulate family-sustaining “green collar” jobs,” said Maria Torres-Springer, New York City Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce. “I look forward to the reinvention of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT) and a new chapter of inclusive growth, quality jobs, and climate innovation in Sunset Park and across New York City. ” 

“When labor power meets wind power, Brooklyn’s green future is unstoppable. I’m proud that Equinor and the New York State Building and Construction Trade Council are working hand in hand to ensure that from start to finish, the Empire Wind project will deliver real, transformative benefits to Brooklyn. For too long, Brooklyn’s waterfronts have seen neglect and disinvestment, and its revitalization efforts like this that will prove the opportunities we have to create hubs for innovation and new job growth right at our shores,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso

“The signing of the project labor agreement covering the construction of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT) marks the first of its kind in New York City. As we continue to transition our economy towards renewable energy, I look forward to bringing not only clean power to my community and our city, but more union jobs, helping to ensure a just and equitable transition,” said NYC Councilmember Alexa Avilés. 

“It’s an honor to join forces with Equinor and BCTC on this groundbreaking SBMT project,” said Kane Cuddy, President of BOND Civil & Utility Construction. “The benefit of transitioning to clean energy can only be fully realized when we find a way to lift up the local labor market in the process. The collaborations with MWBEs, SDVOBs and NYCHA are a model for future projects nationwide and BOND is proud to play a part in this innovative approach. By merging this talent with our combined expertise in the construction of generation, transmission, and distribution assets, we’ll ensure a smooth process and help New York State achieve its clean energy goals.” 

“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 Project Labor Agreement 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,” said 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 workforce on building the transformative energy projects that will be supported by this investment,” said Emmanuel Martin-Lauzer, Director of Business Development, Nexans. 

“This agreement marks a significant milestone in the transformation of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal into one of the largest offshore wind port facilities in the nation, while increasing diversity in waterfront construction by increasing access for New Yorkers of all backgrounds to benefit from these high-quality, green-collar jobs,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) Chief Strategy Officer Cecilia Kushner. “New York is demonstrating that clean energy investments that ensure a brighter future can pave the way for meaningful job creation today. We commend Equinor and NYSBTC on this robust plan to revitalize our waterfront infrastructure, create jobs for all New Yorkers, and build a clean energy future.” 

“NYLCV applauds Equinor for establishing this historic Project Labor Agreement for the construction of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal,” said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “As the Empire Wind project takes shape, this agreement will help fulfill the twin promise of our clean energy transition: reducing our reliance on fossil fuels while providing family sustaining union jobs for the New Yorkers who lay the cables and install the turbines, all while ensuring a robust labor pipeline in the years ahead.” 

“The Empire Wind project at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal is transformative, a great example of what can be accomplished in the new green economy. The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce values good-paying union jobs and this agreement not only achieves that goal, but also advances the borough in the transition to clean energy,” said Randy Peers, President and CEO, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. 

“There are many pieces that need to come together to make these important projects a reality, and union labor is an integral part of this project. By helping Empire Wind 1 be completed, the skilled men and women of New York’s union labor force are directly improving the health and welfare of New York residents who will benefit from this clean, renewable source of energy for decades to come.  At the same time, this PLA demonstrates that the robust and responsible development of OSW in New York will be a source of family sustaining construction jobs for years to come,” said Fred Zalcman, Director, NY Offshore Wind Alliance. 


About Empire Wind   
Empire Wind is located 15-30 miles southeast of Long Island and spans 80,000 acres, with water depths of between approximately 75 and 135 feet. The lease was acquired in 2017. The project’s two phases, Empire Wind 1 and 2, have a potential capacity of more than 2 GW (810 + 1,260 MW), enough to power over 1 million New York homes. Empire Wind 1 was selected as a provisional winner in New York’s fourth offshore wind solicitation (NY4) last month. www.empirewind.com.   

Empire Wind is being developed by Equinor, a leading energy company with more than 20 years of experience with offshore wind and an already strong offshore wind portfolio with assets in key markets including the UK, Poland, Germany and South Korea. The United States is an attractive growth market for Equinor, with an ambition to install 12-16 GW of renewables capacity globally by 2030. 

About SBMT  

The 73-acre South Brooklyn Marine Terminal – a historic home for New York City’s working waterfront – is set to transform into one of the nation’s largest dedicated port facilities for offshore wind in the U.S. and will support the staging and assembly of offshore wind turbine components for Empire Wind and the East Coast’s growing offshore wind industry.   

SBMT will also serve as the operations and maintenance (O&M) hub for Empire Wind 1 and will be the site of the project’s onshore substation. A low-emissions facility with solar power and EV charging stations installed onsite, the port will provide onshore power and charging for the Empire Wind Service Operations Vessel, the first plug-in hybrid vessel for the U.S. offshore wind industry.  


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