Governor Cuomo, joined by former Vice President Al Gore, has executed the nation’s largest offshore wind agreement and the single largest renewable energy procurement by any state in the U.S. history—nearly 1,700 megawatts—with the selection of two offshore wind projects. In addition, he also signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
The winners of New York’s first comprehensive offshore wind solicitation are the Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind development projects of Equinor and Bay State Wind, and a joint venture of Ørsted and Eversource Energy, respectively. Combined, the projects will total 1,700 megawatts, enough to power more than one million New York homes and support more than 1,600 jobs with a combined economic activity of $3.2 billion statewide. While the wind parks are slated to enter commercial operation by 2024, the state’s renewable energy and climate goals total 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035.
Two years ago, Equinor secured an 80,000-acre lease in the New York Bight for Empire Wind. Now the company has been selected to negotiate a long-term contract with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for offshore wind renewable energy certificates (ORECs). The award remains subject to the execution of the OREC purchase and sale agreement.
The project, which will be the biggest wind farm under contract in Equinor’s portfolio so far, will total 816 megawatts and is expected to be developed with 60 – 80 wind turbines, with an installed capacity of more than 10 megawatts each. The project’s proposed interconnection point is at Con Edison’s Gowanus substation. Some 800 local jobs will be created during construction and operation, including through the creation of locally manufactured turbine foundations. Construction is expected to begin in 2022.
Equinor will also invest more than $60 million in port upgrades in New York that will support future offshore wind projects and strengthen the state’s position as a hub for offshore wind. Furthermore, the company will commit at least $4.5 million to community benefits and workforce development, which will support the goals of New York’s National Offshore Wind Training Institute and Community and Workforce Benefits Fund.
The 880-megawatt wind park is a 50-50 partnership between Ørsted and New England’s Eversource and will be built 30 miles east of Montauk Point, Long Island, adjacent to Eversource and Ørsted’s South Fork Wind Farm and Revolution Wind projects. Siemens Gamesa will supply the turbines for the entire 1.7-gigawatt portfolio the joint venture has announced in the Northeast region. The construction phase is anticipated to begin in 2022.
The wind facility will create another 800 jobs during development, construction and operation, and will also enter negotiations with New York State contractors and trade labor organizations on a Project Labor Agreement to cover activities for the facility. Moreover, the project owners have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with New York’s transmission developers, Con Edison Transmission and the New York Power Authority, which will support the development of the transmission facilities needed to deliver the offshore wind energy to the electric transmission grid. The project’s planned interconnection point is the Holbrook and West-Bus substations in the town of Brookhaven within the Long Island Power Authority’s service territory.
Sunrise Wind is anticipated to bring strong investment to Suffolk County, Long Island. Ørsted and Eversource have committed to invest $10 million to create a National Workforce Training Center in partnership with Suffolk County Community College and labor unions. This investment will add to the goals of New York’s National Offshore Wind Training Institute and Community and Workforce Benefits Fund, too.
The two companies will also build a new Operation and Maintenance hub in the greater Port Jefferson area, which will include dockage for a 250-foot service operation vessel, with a warehouse and office facility to be located in the vicinity. Construction and operation of the O&M Hub are expected to create more than 100 new full-time jobs in the state.
Clean energy future
New York has awarded a total of approximately 4,700 megawatts of new large-scale renewable energy contracts since March 2018 through three separate solicitations. Collectively, these projects will provide enough renewable energy to power up to two million households and meet nearly 10 percent of New York’s electricity needs by 2025.
The CLCPA requires the State to achieve a carbon-free electricity system by 2040, mandating that at least 70 percent of New York’s electricity come from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar by 2030. The policy also requires reducing greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 with an interim mandate of 40 percent reduction in emissions by 2030.