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Final contracts clear the way for nearly 2.5 GW of offshore wind

The offshore wind projects will likely spur additional investment and job creation.

Equinor and bp finalized Purchase and Sale Agreements (PSAs) with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for the 1,260 Empire Wind 2 and 1,230 MW Beacon Wind 1, which would be built in offshore waters. 

The January 14 signings closed New York State’s second offshore wind competitive solicitation.

The contracts were first awarded in January 2021, when Equinor and bp were selected to provide New York State with offshore wind power in what at the time was one of the largest renewable energy procurements in the U.S.

Once completed, Equinor and bp’s portfolio of offshore wind projects (Empire Wind 1, Empire Wind 2 and Beacon Wind 1) will produce enough electricity to power about 2 million New York homes, and generate an estimated $1 billion in economic output to New York State, including investments in ports and infrastructure.

Equinor said it aims to install 12-16 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030. New York State has a goal of adding 9,000 MW of offshore wind capacity by 2035.

Additional investments of up to $644 million are expected for facilities to support the offshore wind projects. Plans call for $357 million to be spent for an offshore wind tower manufacturing facility to be built at the Port of Albany. Another $287 million is planned for an offshore wind staging and assembly facility at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, owned by the City of New York and managed by New York City Economic Development Corporation.

Empire Wind will be located 15-30 miles southeast of Long Island and span 80,000 acres, with water depths of between 65 and 131 feet. The lease was acquired in 2017 and is being developed in two phases (Empire Wind 1 and 2) with a total installed capacity of 816MW and 1,260 MW. The capacity is expected to enter service in 2027.

Beacon Wind is more than 60 miles east of Montauk Point and 20 miles south of Nantucket and covers 128,000 acres. The lease was acquired in 2019 and has the potential to be developed with a total capacity of more than 2 GW. This first phase will have an installed capacity of 1,230 MW and is expected to enter service in 2028.

The contract signings continued a busy early January for offshore wind in and around New York State.

The federal government will lease an area larger than half the size of Rhode Island off New Jersey’s and New York’s coasts for wind power development, the first offshore lease in the Biden Administration, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced January 12.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management auction of nearly 500,000 acres (202,300 hectares) is planned for February. It covers parcels off the so-called New York Bight and could lead to enough energy production to power up to 2 million homes, according to the Interior Department.

The announcement came as President Joe Biden’s administration aims to reach 30 GW of offshore wind production by 2030, with more than half of it expected to come from New Jersey and New York by 2035. Projects developed as part of the lease announcement account for up to 7 GW, the department said.

Days earlier, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a $500 million offshore wind investment to include manufacturing and supply chain infrastructure. The state plans to develop 4,300 MW of offshore wind energy, representing nearly half of New York’s 9,000 MW goal for 2035. Coupled with the $500 million, the state will launch its next offshore wind procurement in 2022, which is expected to result in at least 2 GW of new projects.

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