Equinor’s Empire Wind project was recently declared a winner in New York State’s first large-scale competitive offshore wind solicitation. The 816-MW offshore wind project contributes to meeting New York State’s clean energy and climate goals, including its goal of 9000 MW of offshore wind by 2035.
The project is expected to be developed with 60 to 80 wind turbines, with an installed capacity of more than 10 MW each. Total investments will be approximately US$3 billion, and the project will be able to power over 500,000 homes in New York, with an expected start-up in late 2024.
The Empire Wind project will help bring renewable energy to New York City while spurring statewide economic development opportunities. The project is expected to create approximately 800 local jobs during construction, operation, and through the creation of locally manufactured turbine foundations in New York’s Capital Region.
“Being selected in this highly competitive field of bidders shows the confidence 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. We are now looking forward to working with our partners throughout New York State to bring this project forward,” Christer af Geijerstam, president of Equinor Wind U.S., said.
Two years after Equinor secured an 80,000-acre lease area in the New York Bight for Empire Wind, after a strong competition with other bidders, the company has been selected to negotiate a long-term contract with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for offshore wind renewable energy certificates (ORECs). The award remains subject to the execution of the OREC purchase and sale agreement, which Equinor looks forward to finalizing together with NYSERDA.
“We are proud to have been awarded this major wind project offshore New York. Empire Wind represents a breakthrough for Equinor’s global offshore wind ambitions. The project will be the biggest wind farm under contract in our portfolio so far. We are looking forward to developing Empire Wind together with local authorities, local communities and the U.S. industry,” said Pål Eitrheim, executive vice president for Equinor New Energy Solutions.
Equinor will also invest over US$60 million in port upgrades in New York that will support future offshore wind projects and further strengthen the state’s position as the U.S. hub for offshore wind. Further, the company will commit at least US$4.5 million to community benefits and workforce development, which will further the goals of New York’s National Offshore Wind Training Institute, and Community and Workforce Benefits Fund.
Alicia Barton, NYSERDA president and CEO said, “Governor Cuomo solidified New York’s clean energy and climate leadership status with the single greatest commitment to offshore wind by a state in U.S. history. The development of Empire Wind will bring significant economic and environmental benefits to New York, help affirm our position as the offshore wind hub of the Northeast and propel us even closer to achieving the governor’s ambitious climate and energy goals.”
- The Empire Wind site extends 15 to 30 miles southeast of Long Island, spans 80,000 acres, and covers water depths between 65 and 131 ft.
- Each turbine is expected to have an installed capacity of at least 10 MW, meaning that the 816-MW project will have between 60 to 80 wind turbines powering over 500.000 homes.
- Empire Wind is expected to have significant infrastructure and supply chain opportunities at the Port of Coeymans in the Capital Region and South Brooklyn.
- Equinor will also enter negotiations with New York State contractors and trade labor organizations on a Project Labor Agreement to cover construction activities for the Empire Wind project.
- Project development is expected to begin as early as spring 2021, with construction expected in 2022 and commercial operation beginning in December 2024.
- A typical offshore wind project of this size represents a total investment of approximately US$3 billion.