New York state has taken the next step in its aggressive offshore wind energy development program, tapping Norway-based developer Equinor to add 2.5 gigawatts of new generating capacity. Combined with 1.7 GW of offshore projects already underway, the new facilities will put the state on track toward its goal of having renewable energy supply 70% of its electricity needs by 2030.
At $8.9 billion, the new contract is the nation’s largest state-level renewable energy procurement to date.
It calls for 1,230 MW of generating capacity from Equinor’s Beacon Wind 1 project off the Massachusetts coast and another 1,260 MW from the company’s Empire Wind 2 project, expanding that already authorized 816-MW facility off Long Island that is set to finish in 2024.
As part of its deal with the state, Equinor and UK energy giant investment partner BP will establish an offshore wind turbine staging facility and operations and maintenance hub at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal. The team will also build the nation’s first offshore wind tower-manufacturing facility at the Port of Albany, increase turbine foundation manufacturing activity at the nearby Port of Coeymans and expand operations and maintenance work currently performed at Port Jefferson and Port of Montauk Harbor in Long Island.
Together, the five-port facility upgrade will total $664 million, with New York covering approximately one-third of the cost.
The offshore wind projects are part of a broad-based renewable energy program announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) in his Jan. 13 State of the State address.
Equinor CEO Anders Opedal, said tn a statement hat the U.S. east coast is “one of the most attractive growth markets for offshore wind in the world."
Other elements include a 250-mile transmission system that will connect renewable energy systems in upstate New York and Canada with downstate areas that remain heavily dependent on fossil-fuel generation plants. The state’s Energy Research and Development Authority has begun soliciting proposals for the $2-billion project, which will also modernize New York’s electric grid.
Cuomo also announced plans to partner with the private sector for 24 large-scale solar farm and hydroelectric projects this year, and continue deployment of energy storage facilities.