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New York unveils 2.4GW offshore wind target for 2030

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday committed his state to seeing that 2.4GW of offshore wind capacity is built off its coast by 2030, saying New York will support projects backed by Statoil and Deepwater Wind as stepping stones to that ambition.

Furthermore, Cuomo directed state agencies to lay out a “cost-effective and responsible” pathway for New York to reach 100% renewables. New York has already established a 50% renewables target for 2030, as it vies with California to become the nation’s clean-energy hotbed.

The 2.4GW offshore wind target, to be laid out in greater detail in a “master plan” later this year, carries huge significance for the fledgling US offshore wind sector, which just got its first finished project in Deepwater's 30MW Block Island.

It is the largest offshore wind commitment in US history, and comes after Massachusetts’ landmark 1.6GW mandate for 2027 established last summer.

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“New York's unparalleled commitment to offshore wind power will create new, high-paying jobs, reduce our carbon footprint, establish a new, reliable source of energy for millions of New Yorkers, and solidify New York's status as a national clean energy leader,” Cuomo says.

Cuomo directed the New York State Energy Research and Development (NYSERDA), a state entity, to work directly with Statoil to ensure the 800MW offshore wind zone it recently won in a tender gets through the development process.

Statoil's project is located 17 miles (27km) south of Long Island's Rockaway Peninsula, in a prime spot for supplying power to New York City.

NYSERDA took the unusual step of bidding in December's tender, with the intention of de-risking the project and auctioning it off to a private developer. In the end, Statoil won the auction with its record $42.5m bid, five times higher than previous record paid for a US offshore wind zone.

Cuomo also specifically called on the Long Island Power Authority to approve Deepwater Wind’s 90MW South Fork project, located 30 miles off the coast of Montauk, Long Island, describing South Fork as the “most innovative and least cost” way of meeting the power needs of that part of Long Island.

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Deepwater, which is looking at turbines up to 8MW in size for South Fork, had hoped to nail down an off-take agreement with LIPA in 2016.

LIPA has “indicated contract negotiations are close to final”, Cuomo says, and will vote on Deepwater’s project at its January meeting. Deepwater’s ONE zone, which includes South Fork, could eventually hold up to 1GW of capacity.

Deepwater’s South Fork project includes plans for two grid-scale battery storage systems totaling 15MW, to be designed and installed by General Electric. Deepwater chief executive Jeffrey Grybowski told Recharge last summer that the company may regularly incorporate battery storage at its future offshore projects.

Cuomo's announcement came as part of his series of "State of State" speeches being delivered this week, and adds a huge shot of momentum to the US offshore market, which has seen major global players like Denmark's Dong and Statoil buy in over the past two years.

New York, like a growing number of US states, views offshore wind as a means of reviving oceanside communities and sectors.

Liz Gordon, director of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance, said: "Setting a 2,400 MW offshore wind power target for New York is exactly the type of bold action that is required to launch this new industry at scale, accelerating financing, project development, infrastructure construction, job training and cost-reductions.”