Equinor Moves Forward with Planning for Empire Wind

By The Maritime Executive 02-08-2019 06:36:05

Norwegian energy company Equinor is moving forward with planning for a giant offshore wind farm in the "New York Bight," an 80,000 acre lease area just off the entrance to New York Harbor. It has deployed a high-tech buoy to measure wind speed, direction, wave conditions and other characteristics on site to determine the resource potential of the site. The floating LiDAR buoy device uses laser light detection and ranging to take wind measurements, and its solar panels, onboard wind turbines and batteries allow it to operate for extended periods without intervention. 

“The deployment of this specialized buoy marks another step forward in the multi-year process of bringing a reliable source of renewable energy to the New York / New Jersey area,” said Christer af Geijerstam, President, Equinor Wind US. “Offshore wind power today is made possible by a host of innovative technologies, from larger and more efficient turbines to sophisticated LiDAR systems like this that enable us to gauge invaluable information about the characteristics of this offshore lease area.”

Equinor won the federal lease auction for 80,000 acres south of New York and east of New Jersey in 2016. The company is currently working on two potential projects at the site - Empire Wind for New York and Boardwalk Wind for New Jersey. Late last year, it also paid $135 million for a giant lease area off Massachusetts in the highest-value wind auction in U.S. history. 

Equinor (formerly Statoil) derives almost all of its revenue from oil and gas, but it is moving to expand into renewables. It holds four projects in the UK and Germany, generating enough electrical power for one million homes, and it recently commissioned the world's first commercial floating offshore wind installation off Scotland. Floating wind platforms are a technological solution borrowed from offshore oil and gas, and could expand wind's potential into much deeper waters.