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New York Green-lights Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind

NYSERDA announces finalized contracts
for 1.7 GW of Renewable Energy


The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has finalized contracts with Equinor Wind US LLC for its 816 megawatt Empire Wind Project, and Sunrise Wind LLC – a joint venture between Ørsted and Eversource Energy – for its 880 megawatt Sunrise Wind Project, to deliver renewable energy to the state. This is the largest US OW procurement so far.

The two arrays will be built with an "average all-in development cost" of $83.36/MWh, and expected average Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Certificate (OREC) cost of $25.14/MW, the NYSERDA announced. The average bill impact for residential customers will be less than a dollar per month per customer – approximately $0.73.

Joe Martens, Director, New York Offshore Wind Alliance said, "Today's announcement is another giant step forward in New York's march toward a clean energy future. The contracts for the Sunrise and Empire Wind Offshore Wind projects are New York's first installment toward meeting the nation-leading Climate Leadership Act standards for renewable energy and offshore wind and demonstrate the state's resolve to be the epicenter of this new American industry."


Launching New York’s Offshore Wind Industry:
Phase 1 Report


The New York State Department of Public Service received the official report. Key findings are:

  • Unprecedented competition: New York's first procurement garnered the most competitive market response to date among all US. state offshore wind solicitations. With four developers submitting a total of 18 proposals, the proposals demonstrated New York's unparalleled reach to existing lease areas spanning New England to New Jersey, including areas leased through the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's most recent December 2018 auction. In addition, this response demonstrates that the New York State procurement mechanism for ORECs is widely seen as attractive to private developers in the US. offshore wind market.

  • Cost-effectiveness: The Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind projects have an average all-in development cost of $83.36 per megawatt hour (2018 dollars) with an expected average OREC cost of $25.14 per megawatt hour. The average bill impact for residential customers will be less than a dollar per month per customer – approximately $0.73.

  • Innovative Contracting Structure: The contracts utilize an innovative Index OREC contracting structure where payments rise and fall inversely to a composite average of New York's energy and capacity market prices markets, which do not reflect actual project revenues. This structure provides protection for ratepayers against volatility in utility bills and projects in project revenue over the contracts' 25-year lifetime.

  • Environmental, Fishing and Ocean Use Priorities: The award group demonstrated a strong commitment, through the adoption of mitigation plans, to actively address the interests of ocean users such as commercial and recreational fishing and environmental stakeholders, and also ensure that coastal communities will be fully engaged and informed during the development and construction process.

  • Protecting New York Families: Additionally, projects will provide approximately $700 million of avoided health impact benefits in the form of avoided hospitalization and premature death associated with asthma and respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, demonstrating tremendous economic and societal value for New York families.

  • Kick-starting a Powerhouse Clean Energy Industry in New York: The awarded projects will spur New York's clean energy industry with $3.2 billion in combined economic impacts to upstate, downstate, and Long Island, more than $85 million investments in long-term port facilities and cutting-edge technologies and are expected to deliver over 1,600 direct new jobs in project development, component manufacturing, installation, and operations and maintenance. Efforts to best capitalize on the private investments in long-term port facilities and cutting-edge technologies should be considered in tandem with Governor Cuomo's $200 million state funding to unlock private capital in supporting critical port infrastructure.

Both projects are expected to generate first power in 2024, and will contribute to New York’s ambitious target of building 9GW of offshore wind by 2035.

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, "By every measure, New York's first offshore wind procurement was a resounding success and the execution of contracts today signifies a major milestone in our nation-leading pursuit to deliver clean, locally-produced power to millions of New York homes and businesses. These projects, which represent the largest ever renewable energy procurement made by a state in US. history, will deliver tremendous economic benefits and provide jobs to thousands of New Yorkers."

NYSERDA is also utilizing a process to ensure that the necessary port infrastructure is created, thereby optimizing efficiency, investment, and job creation in the state. This is a two-stage procedure and tenders of up to to $200 million will be solicited from qualifying parties for issue in 2020.

NYSERDA Green-lights OW Projects


The US offshore wind market is probably the most rapidly-developing renewable energy sector in the world. Follow #USOW20 for the latest news and expert opinions.

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By Julian Jackson – writer on technology, arts, blockchain and cryptocurrencies

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