New York Moves on Empire and Sunrise Offshore Wind Projects

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Published Oct 23, 2019 8:16 PM by The Maritime Executive

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has finalized contracts with Equinor Wind US LLC for its 816MW Empire Wind Project and Sunrise Wind LLC (a joint venture of Ørsted A/S and Eversource Energy) for its 880MW Sunrise Wind Project.

The move is the largest procurement for offshore wind in U.S. history, and Cuomo has set a goal for 9,000MW of offshore wind by 2035. 

Equinor's Empire Wind is planned for an area of 80,000 acres, in federal waters, an average of 20 miles south of Long Island. The 816MW project is expected to be developed with 60-80 wind turbines, with an installed capacity of more than 10MW each. Total investments will be approximately $3 billion, and the project will be able to power over 500,000 homes in New York, with an expected start up in late 2024.

Sunrise Wind is part of Ørsted’s and Eversource’s North East cluster comprising South Fork, Sunrise Wind and Revolution Wind with a total capacity of approx. 1.7GW. Subject to Ørsted’s and Eversource’s final investment decision, the Sunrise Wind offshore wind farm is expected to be operational in 2024.

NYSERDA has also submitted its report Launching New York's Offshore Wind Industry: Phase 1 Report to the New York State Department of Public Service. The report documents the results of New York's first large-scale offshore wind solicitation, highlighting that certificate prices were approximately 40 percent less than projected by NYSERDA's 2018 analysis, signaling that the costs to deploy offshore wind are rapidly declining. 

The report states that Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind projects have an average all-in development cost of $83.36 per megawatt hour (2018 dollars) with the average bill impact for residential customers will be less than a dollar per month per customer - approximately $0.73.

Additionally, projects will provide approximately $700 million of avoided health impact benefits in the form of avoided hospitalization and premature death associated with asthma and respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

The awarded projects will spur New York's clean energy industry with $3.2 billion in combined economic impacts to upstate, downstate, and Long Island, more than $85 million investments in long-term port facilities. 

To advance the State's long-term port infrastructure investment, earlier this month, NYSERDA, Empire State Development and the New York State Department of Transportation issued a Request for Qualifications seeking proposals for pre-qualification from port operators and market participants who are interested in upgrading and investing in New York ports to support the state's offshore wind industry. The state's ports are expected to unlock billions in long-term local economic development potential and will be serving as a hub for the broader northeast region's offshore wind industry.