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Vineyard zeroes in on New York for offshore wind manufacturing

Developer Vineyard Wind to buy equipment manufactured along Hudson River if it prevails in state's first offshore solicitation

Vineyard Wind has committed to buying foundation components manufactured along the Hudson River in New York if it prevails in the state’s fast-moving offshore wind solicitation, in what would be an important step for the nascent US supply chain.

The deadline for New York’s first offshore wind solicitation was 14 February, and state officials confirmed to Recharge that four bidders participated, offering projects as large as 1.2GW – on a par with anything seen in the European market.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (Nyserda), the state agency conducting the solicitation, received various bids from four development groups:

  • Liberty Wind, owned jointly by Avangrid and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners of Denmark.
  • Equinor (formerly Statoil) of Norway.
  • Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, owned by EDF Renewables and Shell New Energies.
  • Sunrise Wind, owned by Orsted and Eversource Energy.

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A fifth developer, Mayflower Wind Energy, owned by EDPR and Shell New Energies, had considered participating but ultimately chose not to.

Vineyard outlined its bids, saying it put forward configurations of 400MW, 800MW, and 1,200MW in the solicitation. The largest of those projects would supply enough electricity for 750,000 homes in the state.

If it wins, Vineyard says it plans to fabricate foundation components somewhere in New York’s Capital Region, an area around the state’s capital of Albany – connected to the Atlantic Ocean by the Hudson River.

Vineyard did not reveal the exact site it is looking at, but the Port of Coeymans would appear to be the strongest contender, located about 10 miles south of Albany and 100 miles north of New York City along the west bank of Hudson River.

The privately owned Port of Coeymans claims to have 400-acres (160 hectares) of work space, with 3,500 feet of direct river access and the ability to accommodate ships up to 750-feet long.

The Port of Coeymans was identified as a site with “notable potential” to support a future supply chain in New York’s sweeping and intricately detailed Offshore Wind Master Plan published last year.

Vineyard may also be looking at the Port of Albany-Rensselaer, located farther upriver.

In either case, the foundations would be shipped down the Hudson River, out past the Statue of Liberty and under the Verrazano Bridge in New York Harbor, and then seaward to the project site.

With offshore turbine manufacturers unlikely to open a factory on US soil anytime soon, foundations have been seen as one of the most obvious candidates for an early localisation of the supply chain in the Northeast.

The steel jacket foundations used at the only existing US offshore wind farm, Orsted's 30MW Block Island, were manufactured by an offshore oil and gas company along the Gulf of Mexico, hundreds of miles away.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has come out as a strong backer of offshore wind, recently committing to match $200m of private investment into the state’s port infrastructure with the same amount of public money.

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New York, which recently increased and extended its offshore wind target to a nation-leading 9GW by 2035, has set a rapid pace for its first solicitation, both to encourage early supply-chain investments and to help developers secure a portion of the fading federal investment tax credit – which will blunt the cost of the first wave of major US projects.

New York plans to announce the winners of the solicitation this spring, and execute the contracts by this summer. The state has pledged to be highly transparent about the solicitation, with more information on the bids expected to be made public as soon as next week.

The bids will be judged on a formula weighted 70% towards price, 20% towards economic benefits, and 10% towards project viability.

Massachusetts is the current leader when it comes to the US offshore wind supply chain, with the port of New Bedford to play a central role in Vineyard Wind’s contracted 800MW project with that state. Other states, including New Jersey and Virginia, are also aggressively pursuing offshore wind supply-chain investment.

In its bids for New York, Vineyard Wind has teamed up with transmission developer Anbaric Development Partners. The Liberty Wind project – located south of Massachusetts – would connect to New York via a substation on Long Island.

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