Today, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, joined by former Vice President Al Gore, selected two offshore wind projects totaling nearly 1.7 GW, representing not only the nation’s largest offshore wind agreement but also the single largest renewable energy procurement by any state in U.S. history, they said.
The winners of New York’s first comprehensive offshore wind solicitation are the Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind projects of Equinor US Holdings Inc. and Ørsted/Eversource, respectively. Combined, both projects will produce enough power for more than one million New York homes, as well as support more than 1,600 jobs, with a combined economy activity of $3.2 billion statewide, estimates the Cuomo administration.
The selections advance Cuomo’s mandate of 9 GW of offshore wind by 2035. The governor also signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), a comprehensive climate and clean energy bill. The CLCPA requires the state to achieve a carbon-free electricity system by 2040 and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 85% below 1990 levels by 2050. It will also target investments to benefit disadvantaged communities.
“The environment and climate change are the most critically important policy priorities we face,” says Cuomo. “They literally will determine the future – or the lack thereof. Even in today’s chaos of political pandering and hyperbole, there are still facts, data and evidence – and climate change is an undeniable scientific fact. But cries for a new green movement are hollow political rhetoric if not combined with aggressive goals and a realistic plan on how to achieve them. With this agreement, New York will lead the way in developing the largest source of offshore wind power in the nation, and today I will sign the most aggressive climate law in the United States of America. Today we are true to the New York legacy – to lead the way forward, to govern with vision and intelligence, to set a new standard, and to match our words with action.”
Equinor’s 816 MW project is expected to be developed with 60-80 wind turbines, each with an installed capacity of more than 10 MW. Total investments will be approximately $3 billion.
“Being selected in this highly competitive field of bidders shows the confidence that New York leadership has in Equinor’s capabilities of developing large offshore energy projects, delivering affordable renewable energy while also providing significant economic benefits locally. We are now looking forward to working with our partners throughout New York State to bring this project forward,” says Christer af Geijerstam, president of Equinor Wind US.
Two years after Equinor secured an 80,000-acre lease area in the New York Bight for Empire Wind, the company has been selected to negotiate a long-term contract with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for offshore wind renewable energy certificates (ORECs). The award remains subject to the execution of the OREC purchase and sale agreement, which Equinor will finalize together with NYSERDA.
Sunrise Wind, a joint venture between Ørsted and Eversource, will also negotiate an OREC agreement for its 880 MW project. The project owners have entered into a memorandum of understanding with transmission developers Con Edison Transmission and the New York Power Authority. In addition, Ørsted and Eversource plan to construct a new operations and maintenance (O&M) hub in the greater Port Jefferson area.
“Sunrise Wind will bring renewable energy and new economic development to New York,” says Lee Olivier, executive vice president of enterprise energy strategy at Eversource. “We look forward to partnering with New York State as a clean energy leader in the Northeast, as well as with the local communities and businesses on Long Island and throughout the state.”
“Today’s announcement secures New York’s role as a leader in the North American energy transformation,” adds Thomas Brostrøm, CEO of Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind and president of Ørsted North America. “Sunrise Wind will ensure that the state and its residents not only benefit from clean, renewable power, but that they reap the rewards of being an early player in a growing industry.”
The projects selected today are expected to begin offshore construction in late 2022 and be completed by 2024. Before the projects can begin construction, they must pass a series of rigorous federal and state permitting requirements that ensure environmental and economic impacts are considered, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) points out.
Cuomo has also announced new investments totaling $287 million to construct manufacturing, service and port facilities in New York, as well as $20 million for a new wind workforce training program housed in the State University of New York system, notes AWEA.
“Governor Cuomo’s vision to power the Empire State with clean, American-made offshore wind power will benefit all New Yorkers,” comments Laura Smith Morton, senior director of offshore policy and regulatory affairs at AWEA. “Large-scale wind projects, like those selected today, equal large-scale job creation and infrastructure investment in New York City and the state’s coastal communities.”
“The offshore wind projects announced today will not only protect our environment but also generate jobs and keep ratepayers’ costs as low as possible,” says Liz Burton, president and CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind. “This is happening in New York today, thanks to the governor’s goals of reducing carbon emissions, diversifying the state’s energy resources and accelerating the transition from fossil fuel electricity generation to renewables. At the governor’s direction, New York is leading the race to develop offshore wind, and its residents will reap the environmental and economic benefits. Now it’s time for the U.S. to move on offshore wind and follow Governor Cuomo’s lead.”