- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D, on Thursday awarded the largest combined offshore wind contracts by any state to date, totaling 1,700 MW.
- Ørsted and Equinor received contracts to build 880 MW and 816 MW of offshore wind, respectively. While the U.S. offshore wind industry is still nascent, both companies have experience developing offshore wind in Europe.
- Gov. Cuomo also signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), which requires the state's electricity system to be 100% carbon-free by 2040 and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85% below 1990 levels by 2050. The CLCPA codifies the 9 GW offshore wind goal and commits to installing 6 GW of distributed solar by 2025 and 3 GW of energy storage by 2030 — goals that were laid out in his January address.
Cuomo wants to make New York a leader in lowering carbon emissions and producing offshore wind. In January, he increased the state's goal for the renewable resource from an initial 2.4 GW by 2030 to 9 GW by 2035.
Renewable energy advocates lauded the announcement as a record-breaking commitment to offshore wind projects. In June, New Jersey announced the previous largest offshore wind contract, selecting Ørsted to construct a 1.1 GW project off the coast of Atlantic City.
"This was more than twice the capacity indicated by the Public Service Commission beforehand, and more than the 1.1 GW awarded by New Jersey just weeks ago, which had previously been considered an eye-popping figure for the U.S. market when their auction was first announced," Anthony Logan, senior analyst at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables said in a statement.
The New York Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) initially published a request for proposals for 800 MW or more of offshore wind and had received even larger bids, such as Vineyard Wind's Liberty Wind proposal for 1.2 GW.
"While we are disappointed in this decision, we appreciate the leadership New York has provided in expanding the offshore wind sector and its ambitious goal of deploying 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2035," Liberty Wind said.
Both of the winning wind farms are expected to be operational by 2024. Equinor's project, known as Empire Wind, will be in the New York Bight and Ørsted's project, a joint venture with Eversource, will be 30 miles east of Long Island, in Montauk, adjacent to their other, smaller offshore wind development, South Fork Wind Farm.
Ørsted and Eversource are developing approximately 1.7 GW of wind across the U.S., including the Sunrise New York project. The joint venture will also develop the 704 MW Revolution Wind project, which will supply power to Rhode Island and Connecticut, and the 130 MW South Fork project in Long Island, New York.
Equinor, formerly Statoil, became the first developer to hold a lease in the New York Bight in December 2016. The area has the potential capacity for 2 GW of offshore wind, the company said last February.
According to NYSERDA, the state's goal to add 9 GW of offshore wind will also create more than 10,000 jobs.
The Business Network for Offshore Wind similarly praised "Governor Cuomo for committing over $3.5 billion to support economic development, union agreements, financing of New York’s infrastructure, including the upgrade of the NY/NJ Port Authority, and for investments in training and developing skills for New Yorkers to work in the industry," Liz Burdock, the organization's CEO and president, said in a statement.