NY - Offshore Wind Blows Full Force as Equinor Wins New York State Project
The offshore wind juggernaut continues at full force in the US, with New York State announcing that Equinor, with incoming partner BP, had won a solicitation to provide 2.5 gW of electricity from two offshore lease areas.
Importantly, Equinor has committed to invest in portside infrastructure- in Brooklyn at a dormant terminal that was a onetime breakbulk hub, and at the Port of Albany, about 120 miles north of New York harbor, up the Hudson River.
In the States, though offshore leasing is handled by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the Federal agency within the US Department of Interior, it is the coastal states, which arrange for long term power purchase agreements, that are driving the transactions.
New York’s stated ambition, spearheaded by its Governor Andrew Cuomo, is requiring that 70% of the state’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2030, on a pathway towards a 100% carbon free electricity system by 2040. Along the way, New York, with much of its population in the southern part of the state- which includes Long Island, has a goal of deploying 9 gW (9,000 mW) of offshore wind capacity by 2035.
The timing of the announcement, a week prior to the inauguration of the new Biden administration at the Federal government level, is highly symbolic. During the years of the outgoing Trump administration, the actual work of installing turbines and transmission networks on previously awarded leases had been stalled.
Projects in lease areas off the coast in New England and the mid-Atlantic, once touted as coming online in 2022-2023 have seen their launch timeframes pushed back to 2024 and later. The Biden administration is seen as more likely to advance both “green” and “infrastructure” initiatives, with offshore wind at the locus of these two dynamics.