The Glenmont wind turbine tower installation is now behind schedule

BETHLEHEM – The Port of Albany’s offshore wind tower turbine project is months behind on its ambitious two-year construction schedule as it awaits necessary approvals from both the state and federal governments.

“We’re a little behind,” Port of Albany CEO Rich Hendrick told the Times Union on Wednesday. “It’s not that bad.”

Hendrick was asked about the construction plan for the $350 million project, which is being built on 200 acres on the Hudson River in Glenmont, after a March 25 letter from the port to the state provided new details about the proposed construction plan became known Department of Environmental Protection.

In the letter obtained by Times Union, the port requested a special waiver from DEC to begin felling all trees on the site known as Beacon Island without obtaining all necessary permits. The letter cited the need to clear trees immediately so the port could then compact any existing soil under several feet of fill material – a process that takes at least three months.

DEC issued the waiver to the Port of Albany on March 31, and tree felling was completed in April.

But the soil compaction process has not started yet, although the port had planned to start the process, officially known as soil surcharge, on April 20. Soil compaction should be completed by the end of this month.

Hendrick told the Times Union that ground surcharge collection has not yet begun and that the process will not begin until the port has received all state and federal permits. When that will be is unclear. Hendrick said the stumps will need to be cleared and the property leveled before soil compaction can proceed.

The Port of Albany last year received a $29.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to upgrade the site needed to build the offshore wind turbine tower fabrication facility that will supply several new offshore wind farms will be built off Long Island by a Norwegian company called Equinor.

The project, which is seen as an economic boon for the capital region with the creation of 500 jobs, is supported by the highest levels of government in order to achieve the state’s climate protection goals.

However, it appears that the permitting process could slow down the project, which needs to be completed by December 2023, according to contracts Equinor has with the port to have the site operational by then.

A spokeswoman for Equinor said the company is not directly involved in the permitting process, which the port is responsible for.

Leave a Comment