Offshore wind comes to New York state
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has finalised a pair of contracts for two new offshore wind farms – the first with the US division of Equinor and the second with a joint venture between Denmark’s Ørsted and local utility Eversource Energy.
Equinor’s 816 MW Empire Wind project will be made up of 60 to 80 turbines installed at a 3,000 ha site 30 km south of Long Island. Meanwhile, Ørsted and Eversource’s 880 MW Sunrise Wind farm will be an addition to the North East cluster, a wind park containing three separate projects with a total capacity of 1.7 GW. Both new wind farms should be operational in 2024.
NYSERDA also released a new report, Launching New York’s Offshore Wind Industry: Phase 1, to the New York State Department of Public Service to coincide with the closing of the procurement deals. According to the document, the solicitation resulted in Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Certificate (OREC) prices that were 40% lower than predicted by NYSERDA’s own analysis from 2018.
An OREC represents the environmental benefits associated with 1 MWh of electricity generated by offshore wind and consumed in the state of New York. The certificates compensate offshore wind generators for their investments – effectively subsidising the creation of an offshore wind industry in New York.
‘We are committed to supporting offshore wind projects as part of our efforts to increase renewable energy,’ said New York’s Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul in a statement. ‘These significant contracts build on our aggressive clean energy goals to reduce emissions and combat climate change. New York is leading the nation working to protect our environment and make sure it is cleaner and greener for future generations.’
By all accounts, New York has one of the most ambitious clean energy programmes in the US. It is aiming to be entirely carbon neutral across all sectors of the economy by 2040. To date, the state’s government has invested almost $3bn in 46 large-scale renewable projects.