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New York Selects Equinor for Largest US Offshore Wind Award

New York awards largest offshore wind and infrastructure project to Equinor
Image courtesy of Equinor

By The Maritime Executive 01-14-2021 05:05:01

New York State announced the details of what is being called the largest renewable energy award yet made in the U.S. This phase of the project will provide for more than three gigawatts of renewable energy for the state along with the redevelopment of port facilities and provide for the creation of thousands of new jobs.

Under the award, Equinor and its new strategic partner bp will provide 1,260 megawatts (MW) of renewable offshore wind power from Empire Wind 2, and another 1,230 MW of power from Beacon Wind 1. This is in addition to the existing contacts to provide New York 816 MW of renewable power from Empire Wind 1 and in total will provide a total of 3.3 gigawatts (GW) of power. Equinor and bp announced in September 2020, that they formed a strategic partnership for offshore wind, with bp becoming a 50 percent partner in the Equinor-operated Empire Wind and Beacon Wind projects.

As part of the new award by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the companies have also agreed to work with New York to redevelop portions of two of the state’s historic ports. The South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT) and the Port of Albany will be turned into large-scale offshore wind working industrial facilities.

“These projects will deliver homegrown, renewable electricity to New York and play a major role in the state’s ambitions of becoming a global offshore wind hub. The successful bids for Empire Wind 2 and Beacon Wind 1 represent a game-changer for our offshore wind business in the U.S. and underline Equinor’s commitment to be a leading company in the energy transition. These projects will also create value through economies of scale and support our strategic ambition of becoming a global offshore wind major,” says Anders Opedal, CEO of Equinor.

 

Map showing the location of the two wind farms - courtesy of Equinor

 

New York has been moving aggressively seeking to place its initiatives ahead of neighboring states, such as New Jersey, which have also been moving forward with programs to develop offshore wind and build the onshore infrastructure to support the growth of the industry. 

As part of the new agreement announced by NYSERDA, Equinor will invest in port upgrades to help transform the Brooklyn port facility into an offshore wind staging and assembling facility and an operations and maintenance base. SBMT will be one of the largest dedicated offshore wind port facilities in the United States at approximately 73 acres, with the capacity to accommodate wind turbine generator staging and assembly activities at the scale required by component manufacturers.

For the Port of Albany, Equinor will combine with established wind industry companies Marmen and Welcon to develop the port as an offshore wind tower and transition piece manufacturing facility. 

“Together, Equinor and the State of New York will create a robust offshore wind supply chain capable of manufacturing, assembling, and staging these projects at scale. As Equinor works to expand its renewable energy presence across the United States and the globe, New York’s leadership clearly illustrates the transformative benefits of offshore wind on climate goals and economic activity alike,” says Siri Espedal Kindem, President of Equinor Wind U.S.

The two wind fields are both located south of Long Island and are part of previously awarded contracts. The Empire Wind field is located 15-30 miles southeast of Long Island and spans 80,000 acres. The lease for this project was acquired in 2017 and is being developed in two phases (Empire Wind 1 and 2) with a total installed capacity of more than 2 GW (816 + 1,260 MW). The Beacon Wind field is located more than 60 miles east of Montauk Point and covers 128,000 acres. The lease was acquired in 2019 and has the potential to be developed with a total capacity of more than 2.4 GW. This first phase will have an installed capacity of 1,230 MW.

These awards, which are subject to completing negotiations for a purchase and sale agreement, are a key step in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to develop the renewable energy sector in New York. To support these projects, and the overall growth of the industry, the Governor also announced in his State of the State address agreements to launch a state-driven training and education program to develop the workforce for the industry. In the first phase, which is expected to launch this summer, the goal is to train 2,500 people. In total, New York is committing $20 million to the training and development of a skilled workforce that can support the emerging offshore wind industry.