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New York State Wind Solicitation Includes $400M in Port Investments

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File image courtesy Block Island Wind

By The Maritime Executive 07-23-2020 09:05:49

This week, the state of New York announced a giant solicitation for up to 2,500 megawatts of offshore wind capacity. It is the largest single offshore wind solicitation in U.S. history. The contract requirements include investing in one of 11 prequalified New York ports for staging, construction, manufacturing, operations and maintenance activities - thereby retaining economic activity within the state. Associated funding for port investments will include $400 million in both public and private financing. 

The solicitation has the potential to bring New York State about halfway to its goal of 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. 

"During one of the most challenging years New York has ever faced, we remain laser-focused on implementing our nation-leading climate plan and growing our clean energy economy, not only to bring significant economic benefits and jobs to the state, but to quickly attack climate change at its source by reducing our emissions," said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. "With these record-breaking solicitations for renewable energy and new port infrastructure, New York continues to lead the way with the most ambitious Green New Deal in the nation, creating a future fueled by clean, renewable energy sources."

Together with solicitations for another 1,500 megawatts of onshore renewable energy, the plan is expected to generate $7 billion in direct investment and about 4,500 short-term and long-term jobs. Taken together, the offshore wind, port infrastructure, and land-based renewable solicitations aim to procure about 12 million megawatt-hours, enough to power over 1.5 million homes for a year. Taking into account the value of avoided carbon emissions, these solicitations are expected to deliver a combined $3 billion in net benefits over the 20- to 25-year life of the projects.

The offshore wind solicitation seeks bids for projects between 400 and 2,500 megawatts of capacity. It comes attached to a financing scheme worth up to $200 million in 1:1 matching funds, which would support local and private investment in specific kinds of port infrastructure. This includes terminal site subsurface strengthening (needed for heavy turbine components), revetments, wharf improvements, repaving and related site work. The financing facility includes $100 million in Empire State Development grant funding and $100 million in low-interest loans. The 11 port sites that are eligible for partnership are located along a wide swath of New York shoreline, from Long Island to Albany.

"This record-level investment for port development in support of offshore wind power generation will accelerate the creation of well-paying green jobs and enhance the economic competitiveness of New York," said the state's Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez. 

Bids will be accepted until October 20, and the contracts will be awarded by the end of the year.