New York announced the country’s largest offshore wind energy agreement and the single largest renewable energy procurement in the country’s history last Friday, after choosing the 816 MW Empire Wind and 880 MW Sunrise Wind projects from its first offshore wind tender.
Governor Andrew Cuomo was joined by former Vice President Al Gore to announce what is the single largest renewable energy procurement in US history: The two projects will create enough clean energy to power over 1 million homes, create over 1,600 jobs, and result in US$3.2 billion in economic activity.
In addition to the offshore wind announcement, Governor Cuomo also signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) which sees New York adopt the most ambitious and comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation in the United States.
Together, the two announcements go a long way to advancing Governor Cuomo’s mandated target of installing 9 GW of offshore wind energy.
“The environment and climate change are the most critically important policy priorities we face,” Governor Cuomo said.
“They literally will determine the future – or the lack thereof. Even in today’s chaos of political pandering and hyperbole there are still facts, data, and evidence – and climate change is an undeniable scientific fact. But cries for a new green movement are hollow political rhetoric if not combined with aggressive goals and a realistic plan on how to achieve them.
“With this agreement, New York will lead the way in developing the largest source of offshore wind power in the nation, and today I will sign the most aggressive climate law in the United States of America. Today we are true to the New York legacy – to lead the way forward, to govern with vision and intelligence, to set a new standard, and to match our words with action.”
The 816 MW Empire Wind project was submitted and will be developed by Norwegian oil, gas, and wind company Equinor, while the 880 MW Sunrise Wind was submitted and will be developed by Bay State Wind, a joint venture of Ørsted A/S and Eversource Energy.
Empire Wind will likely utilise between 60 to 80 10 MW wind turbines and require total investment of around US$3 billion. Construction for Empire Wind is expected to begin in 2022 and be completed and operational by 2024.
“Being selected in this highly competitive field of bidders shows the confidence that New York leadership has in Equinor’s capabilities of developing large offshore energy projects, delivering affordable renewable energy while also providing significant economic benefits locally,” said Christer af Geijerstam, President of Equinor Wind US. “
We are now looking forward to working with our partners throughout New York State to bring this project forward.”
Sunrise Wind, on the other hand, has already awarded a conditional contract to Spanish wind turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy for 8 MW wind turbines, in addition to contracts for two other projects being developed between Ørsted and Eversource Energy – the 704 MW Revolution Wind project and the 130 MW South Fork wind power project.
Tallied together, Ørsted and Eversource have awarded Siemens Gamesa a conditional the largest US offshore wind power order to date, weighing in at 1.7 GW.
“An order of this size is a testament to the confidence which Ørsted and Eversource place in Siemens Gamesa,” said Andreas Nauen, CEO of the Siemens Gamesa Offshore Business Unit.
“Delivering clean energy for generations to come – now on a large-scale basis in the U.S. offshore market – is a goal we are proud to share with Ørsted and Eversource. We are committed to doing so safely and with a strong focus on reducing the Levelized Cost of Energy from offshore wind in this rapidly developing market.”
“Today’s announcement secures New York’s role as a leader in the North American energy transformation,” added Thomas Brostrøm, CEO of Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind and President of Ørsted North America. “Sunrise Wind will ensure that the state and its residents not only benefit from clean, renewable power, but that they reap the rewards of being an early player in a growing industry.”
New York’s ambitious renewable energy targets – in addition to a promised 9 GW target for offshore wind – will also see 6 GW of distributed solar installed by 2025 and a long-term goal to mandate 100% renewable energy by 2040 – the most aggressive state renewable energy target in the country.
The cornerstone to Governor Cuomo’s increasing renewable ambitions was an increase to the state’s already successful Clean Energy Standard, which has been raised to 70% renewable electricity by 2030, on track to 100% by 2040.
Unsurprisingly, the news was praised by US clean energy and environmental advocates.
“New York is walking the walk when it comes to renewable energy and climate leadership in America,” said Gregory Wetstone, President and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE).
“We applaud Governor Cuomo for signing this historic legislation to reduce greenhouse emissions and transition the state to a renewable energy economy. The benefits for New Yorkers will be far-reaching, including substantial new investment, job creation and a healthier environment for us all.”