Although the New York Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has authority from the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) to issue a 2020 solicitation for at least 1,000 MW of offshore wind – and up to 2,500 MW – the group is stepping cautiously toward executing those plans.
In a recent letter to stakeholders, NYSERDA says that given the current circumstances related to COVID-19, issuing a near-term solicitation would not be responsible nor advisable.
“The COVID-19 crisis has acutely affected New York’s clean energy industry from a human resource, project development and financial perspective,” the letter reads. “NYSERDA is considering options to issue the state’s second offshore wind solicitation in coordination with a $200 million solicitation to upgrade New York’s ports, at a date that is sensitive to the significant and difficult challenges currently facing private industries and New Yorkers.”
The PSC’s order – which was issued last week – authorizes NYSERDA to solicit offshore wind bids for up to 2,500 MW of offshore wind capacity, which would be, by far, the largest solicitation in the nation to date.
The order follows a “Phase 1” PSC authorization in 2018 that resulted in 2019 contracts for two large-scale projects that will provide energy to New York: the 880 MW Sunrise Wind project sponsored by Orsted and Eversource and the 816 MW Empire Project sponsored by Equinor U.S. Wind. These initial two projects, which are expected to come online by 2024, will generate $3.2 billion in economic activity and provide some 1,200 jobs with excellent wages.
“As the COVID-19 crisis further highlights the link between cleaner air and our ability to protect the health outcomes of our most vulnerable populations, I cannot think of a better demonstration of New York’s resilience and leadership than the PSC’s announcement to advance the nation’s largest offshore wind solicitation,” says Joe Martens, director of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance (NYOWA).
“The PSC order will help ensure that New York is able to take maximum advantage of expiring federal tax credits, limited offshore lease areas and the developing offshore wind supply chain. That means more family-sustaining jobs for New Yorkers, enormous economic and environmental benefits, and a giant step forward in reaching the state’s renewable energy and offshore wind targets,” Martens adds.
NYSERDA remains committed to working with the clean energy sector to address the current challenges, and to assist impacted businesses and workers with any resources they may have available.
For all the latest information regarding NYSERDA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.
Photo: The New York state capitol building