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New York sets seal on biggest offshore wind procurement in US

Combined 1.7GW from Equinor's Empire Wind and Orsted-Eversource's Sunrise Wind projects to start flowing in 2024

The New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) has set the seal on contracts with Equinor and Orsted-Eversource joint venture Sunrise Wind for almost 1.7GW of offshore wind power, the largest procurement from the sector so far in the US.

The deals, for 816MW from Equinor via its Empire Wind project and 880MW from the eponymous Sunrise Wind development in the Atlantic Ocean, are the first slice of New York’s goal to have 9GW of offshore wind in place by 2035 , and a major step toward meeting the state’s 70% renewables mandate for the end of this decade.

The awards to Equinor and Sunrise Wind were first announced in May.

“New Yorkers know all too well the devastating impacts of climate change and the catastrophic consequences if we do not act urgently,” said state governor Andrew Cuomo. “By finalising the contract awards for the nation's largest offshore wind procurement, we are realising the positive impacts these projects will have on the environment, while diversifying our economy and bringing significant economic benefits to the Empire State.”

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Equinor US president Christer Geijerstam stated: “Equinor is excited to join governor Cuomo and NYSERDA in securing our commitment to delivering renewable offshore wind energy to New York and meeting [its] ambitious renewable energy goals. [Our] Empire Wind project is a key part of the state's new offshore wind industry, bringing not only homegrown renewable energy, but also new jobs and substantial economic development.”

Orsted North America president Thomas Brostrøm said: “Thanks to the leadership of governor Cuomo, NYSERDA and New York, Sunrise Wind is helping secure the state's role as a leader in the North American green energy transformation. Orsted and Eversource will help ensure that New Yorkers not only benefit from green, renewable power, but that they reap the rewards of being an early player in this growing industry.”

In time with the announcement of the closing of the procurement deals, NYSERDA released a new report, Launching New York's Offshore Wind Industry: Phase 1, to the New York State Department of Public Service, to document completion of the landmark solicitation, which resulted in Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Certificate (OREC) prices some 40% lower than projected by the authority in a 2018 analysis.

The Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind projects, set to come online in 2024, are calculated to have an average all-in development cost of $83.36/MWh, with an expected average OREC cost of $25.14/MWh.

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NYSERDA CEO Alicia Barton 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.”

Empire Wind, will be located in a 323 sq km (80,000 acre) zone about 22-56km (14-35 miles) south of Long Island where Equinor won commercial development rights two years ago, while the Sunrise Wind project site is off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, about 77km from Montauk Point on Long Island, New York.

Cuomo’s Green New Deal aims to put New York state on a trajectory to be achieve a zero-carbon emissions electricity sector by 2040, as well stoking renewable energy investment of almost $3bn via 46 large-scale renewable projects and creating more than 150,000 jobs in New York's clean energy industry.

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