In a first big push toward an ambitious state goal to procure 9,000 MW of offshore wind power by 2035, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on July 18 the award of its largest projects for that renewable energy source—a total of 1,700 MW—to the U.S. unit of Norwegian developer Equinor, formerly the state-owned energy firm Statoil;  and  to a joint venture of Danish wind giant Ørsted and Connecticut energy firm Eversource Energy.

Both projects are set to cost about $3 billion each to develop, with the project award announcement awaited by industry since mid-June—as New York positions to become the hub of the fast-developing east coast U.S. offshore wind marketplace.

The largest yet single state award for offshore wind in the U.S., the projects are set to generate 1,600 jobs and a $3.2-billion economic boost, said Cuomo.

The awards come as Cuomo, flanked by former Vice President and environmental advocate Al Gore, signed a new law to seek further fossil fuel use restrictions to cut greenhouse gas emission impacts. Among its goals is to have 70% of state power generation from renewable sources by 2030 and  zero emissions by 2040. The law has been a controversial piece of legislation in the state.

Package Deal

The package includes more than $300 million in state-funded port and other infrastructure upgrades in several locations—Albany, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Long Island—as well as new training and supply chain development investments. Developers also have promised millions more for fabrication and operations, as well as workforce and supplier expansion.

The projects will each be built under a union project labor agreement paying prevailing wages, and await negotiation of a 25 -year offshore wind renewable energy certificate with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

The agency did not reveal power prices offered by the selected projects, but said they are about 40% lower than expected compared to analyses in 2018. NYSERDA said it will release details, including prices "and other relevant metrics" after the contracts are executed.

Much project detail is also redacted in proposal information released. The NYSERDA website states the contracts will be executed "in summer 2019," with no more specific timing updated.

But Ken Girardin, an analyst for Albany, N.Y.-based public policy think tank Empire Center, said in a July 18 opnion, that the state's offshore wind approach will be costly for state ratepayers.

Local Impacts

Equinor will build a project of 816 MW, a significant boost for the European firm's U.S. market ambitions.

The firm says it will build 60 to 80 wind turbines, each about 10MW and set on gravity based foundations. The project is set to be operational by 2024, the company says; it did not specify the name of the turbine installer

Equinor secured an 80,000-acre lease area in the New York Bight just south of New York City's  western border, ror its project.

Ørsted's project will total 880 MW, to include an unspecified number turbines of about 8MW each to be built by Siemens Gamesa. Construction is planned to start in 2021, with the wind farm operational in 2022.

The firm said its offshore wind build-out in New York state now will total 1.7 GW, with other projects also off the oast of Long Island.

"By taking a portfolio approach to their Northeast projects, comprising South Fork, Sunrise Wind and Revolution Wind with a total capacity of approx. 1.7GW to be built in 2022-2024, Ørsted and Eversource will be able to leverage significant procurement synergies and optimize the construction and operation," said the developers. .

Ørsted last month also won New Jersey's highly touted first offshore wind project award, which totaled 1,100 MW.

NYSERDA Chairman Richard Kaufman told an offshore wind industry conference in April that the state's 18 received bids from four project developers is a U.S. record.

Ken Girardin, a policy analyst at conservative think tank Empire Center for Public Policy, told the Associated Press that the state's offshore wind buildout will cost more than $48 billion upfront and $1 billion in annual operating cost.