Sunrise Wind project making progress

Sunrise Wind project making progress

Sunrise Wind. Photo courtesy Sunrise Wind

By Serena Carpino

Several Suffolk County elected officials have gathered in support for Sunrise Wind, an offshore wind project dedicated to using clean energy to power thousands of Long Island homes. 

Sunrise Wind is operated under a 50/50 partnership between Ørsted, a Danish international climate action leader, and Eversource, a national leader in clean energy. The project has been ongoing since 2019 and organizers aim to have it completed by 2026, with the farm generating about 924 megawatts and supplying energy to nearly 600,000 homes across the Island. 

Sunrise Wind is located approximately 30 miles east of Montauk. Developers plan to run cables through Smith Point Beach that will connect to Long Island’s electricity grid in Holbrook. Officials intend to use the wind farm to provide Island residents with 70% renewable energy by 2030, and 100% by 2040. Eventually, they hope to make Sunrise Wind a national energy hub. 

The project has received bipartisan support across the county, with members of both parties agreeing to look toward a more renewable future. Officials supporting Sunrise Wind include County Executive Ed Romaine (R), state Assemblyman Joe DeStefano (R-Medford), Brookhaven Town Supervisor Dan Panico (R), and other business and labor leaders. 

“Here, this is not a Democrat or Republican issue,” Romaine explained. “Our focus is local and since we all live here, we want to solve the problems together to get this done. When I look at the future, I realize we’re going to need more energy than ever: Why not renewable?”

Other officials have commented how the project is already helping parts of Long Island with its $700 million investment in jobs, assets, and partnerships across Suffolk County. 

“In the Mastic-Shirley community, Patriots Preserve, we got our first million dollars from this agreement,” Panico said. “We used that money in the creation of a beautiful pristine park in the tri-hamlet community, one of the most densely populated communities that is underserved.”

Furthermore, Sunrise Wind has brought many job opportunities to Long Island residents. According to Meaghan Wims, a spokesperson for Sunrise Wind, the project will “deliver major economic benefits and local jobs to New York … while accelerating the state’s growing offshore wind workforce and supply chain.”

Many officials agree that Sunrise Wind will bring many benefits to Long Island. However, they have also addressed potential concerns about the effect on marine life and fisheries. 

“Climate change is an existential threat to the biodiversity of the natural world, and one of the best ways to protect that biodiversity is the development of clean energy,” Wims explained. That being said, Sunrise Wind takes “great care to ensure that offshore wind and wildlife coexist and thrive. We’ve taken a number of steps to ensure this coexistence, often by being directly responsive to requests from the fishing community.”

For example, officials at Sunrise Wind decided the boundaries of the wind farm after considering feedback from parties that could be affected. In addition, “we’ve set the industry standard by agreeing to uniform 1 x 1 nautical mile spacing across and gridded layout of our lease areas,” Wims said. “This is the widest spacing of any offshore wind farm in the world.” Because of this type of spacing, marine transit and fishery activity can continue to occur. 

In addition to Sunrise Wind, Ørsted and Eversource also have South Fork Wind and Revolution Wind in the works. South Fork Wind is estimated to provide 132 MW of energy to New York and is projected to become the first utility-scale offshore wind farm in United States waters. 

Revolution Wind will supply Rhode Island and Connecticut with 704 MW of power and offshore construction is set to begin in several months.