New York will stage its next offshore wind procurement round of up to 2.5GW “for sure” in 2020 after delays caused by coronavirus, said the state’s top energy official who warned that its nation-leading ambitions could suffer unless the federal government moves quickly to make more leasing areas available.

New York got the go-ahead in April from regulators to seek at least 1GW and up to 2.5GW more power from offshore wind, following a 1.7GW first solicitation in 2019.

But the New York Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which runs energy policy for the state, delayed the round because of the disruption caused by the pandemic.

“We’re eager to have renewable energy and offshore wind play a central role in the state’s strategy to build back our economy,” NYSERDA CEO Alicia Barton told the US Offshore Wind Virtual conference.

“We’re still gauging he exact timing. We will be advancing it this year for sure,” said Barton. “We’re continuing to monitor the circumstances to make sure it’ll be safe to have workers on the ground preparing really informed bids.”

With an ambition to procure 9GW New York has the biggest offshore wind target of any US state, with last year's first round won by Norway’s Equinor and a joint venture of Orsted and regional utility Eversource.

Barton said NYSERDA is confident that the leasing already awarded to developers off the US Northeast is sufficient to ensure a competitive next round, but warned that “we do not have over time sufficient leases available to drive competition.

“We’ve been extremely clear there needs to be substantial new lease areas made available,” particularly in the New York Bight straddling New York and New Jersey – another state with major offshore wind ambitions.

Barton said the state is “disappointed that it’s taking so long” for the US government to move on new leasing. “At some point over time we absolutely believe the leases will be critical.”

Recharge reported late in 2019 how the Bureau of Ocean energy Management (BOEM), which regulates federal waters, was less likely to move to a second commercial leasing round in 2020 as originally planned.

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