Inside the Expanding World of Offshore Wind
While the East End has been focused on the development of the South Fork Wind Farm, a 130-megawatt offshore turbine installation about 30 miles off the coast of Montauk, the offshore wind industry has been gearing up for major expansion up and down the eastern seaboard.
New York State is playing a major role in this expansion, with Governor Andrew Cuomo pushing the envelope, pledging in this year’s State of the State address to produce 9,000 megawatts of electricity from offshore wind by the year 2035. Mr. Cuomo had previously pledged 2,400 megawatts of energy from offshore wind by 2030.
The New York State Energy & Research Development Agency (NYSERDA) took the first major step toward this goal this winter, soliciting bids for 800 megawatts of offshore wind. It is expecting to announce winning bids this spring.
In a mostly landlocked state, the impacts of this goal will be felt mostly on Long Island, where new infrastructure — bringing with it hope to power the island with renewables, as well as jobs, environmental impacts and potential disruption to fisheries — will tie this power in to New York’s electric grid.
In total, four companies submitted 18 separate bids.
The NYSERDA bidding process required a “base proposal” of 400 megawatts and two alternate proposals. The projects would tie into the grid in an area known as “NYSIO Zone K,” which is Long Island.
The price, amount of power, date of expected commercial operation and location of interconnection to the electric grid,as well as the technical specifications of the projects, have been redacted from publicly available copies of the bids for all bidders in this solicitation, so we do not have the details of each separate bid at this time.
Below is an overview of the companies that have submitted proposals, and the locations of their wind lease areas:
Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind is a joint project between EDF Renewables and Shell New Energies, which is indirectly owned by Royal Dutch Shell. It would be built in the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s New Jersey Wind Area about eight miles off the coast of Atlantic City on the outer continental shelf. Atlantic Shores signed a lease with BOEM to this 286-square-mile area in December of 2018, and estimates it can produce 2,400 megawatts of electricity there — enough to power nearly one million homes.
According to the companies, “the area offers strong and steady wind resources in relatively shallow water, close to large population centers with associated electricity demand.”
EDF Renewables has been active in Europe, with 2,800 megawatts of electricity in development or operation in Belgium, France, Germany and United Kingdom. Shell New Energies is involved in five wind energy projects on land in the United States, in Rock River, Wyoming; Grant County, West Virginia; Fluvanna, Texas; and two wind farms in the San Gorgonio Pass in California.
In all, Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind has submitted eight proposals to NYSERDA.
Empire Wind is a project proposed off the South Shore of Long Island by Equinor Wind, a subsidiary of Equinor ASA, a large cap publicly traded energy company headquartered in Norway that has developed wind farms off the coast of Britain, Scotland and Germany, and has also developed offshore oil and gas facilities. The company also recently invested $135 million in the lease of one of three offshore wind lease areas off the coast of Massachusetts.
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