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New York Grants Final Approvals for Empire Wind to Start Construction

South Brooklyn Marine Terminal
New York approved the connections for the wind farm at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (Equinor)

Published May 16, 2024 5:33 PM by The Maritime Executive

 

The New York State Public Service Commission granted Empire Offshore Wind its final approval, authorizing the project to begin construction on the 810MW offshore wind farm. This comes after the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) gave its final approvals for the wind farm in February and is the latest demonstration of the efforts to build momentum in the U.S. offshore energy sector. 

“Offshore wind is a critically important part of our fight against climate change, and today’s decision will help move forward a zero-emissions electric grid that will provide long-term benefits to all New Yorkers,” said New York Governor Kathy Hochul.

The Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) issued today authorized the construction and operation of transmission facilities for the delivery of electricity into New York from the 810 MW first section of the offshore wind farm. Equinor holds the lease won in December 2016 and signed in March 2017 for 80,000 acres south of Long Island. The anticipated commercial operation date is 2027, with first power in 2026.

BOEM issued its Record of Decision in November 2023 and its final approval of the Construction and Operations Plan for both Empire Wind 1 and 2 in February. The total project to be developed in two phases has the potential for a capacity of nearly 2.1 GW. However, Equinor only plans to move forward immediately on Phase 1 holding the second section for later solicitation.

Today’s approval includes the transmission facilities with two lines from the offshore site to Brooklyn. An onshore substation will be located at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal and further lines will bring the power to Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc.’s existing Gowanus 345 kV substation in Brooklyn.

“The approval by the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) of the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity is another important step for the development of the Empire Wind 1 project,” said Molly Morris, President of Equinor Renewables Americas. “With this authorization in place, combined with other federal, state, and local authorizations, critical construction can begin in Brooklyn that will help connect the 810 MW of renewable energy produced by Empire Wind 1 to the New York City grid.”

Equinor received a conditional award in February after rebidding for the power purchase agreement and was working to complete an agreement on final terms with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). At the time, the company said it expected to complete the NYSERDA agreement in the second quarter and that a final investment decision was expected in mid-2024. Equinor said it plans to use project financing, with the financial close anticipated by the end of 2024.