Government News

NY Awards Two Offshore Wind Projects Worth $2 Billion

New York State has conditionally awarded two offshore wind projects from its fourth offshore wind solicitation – a planned 810-megawatt project, Empire Wind 1, (developed by Equinor) and Sunrise Wind, a planned 924-megawatt project (developed by Orsted and Eversource). The competitively selected projects will create more than 800 near-term family-sustaining construction jobs and invest $2 billion in near-term enhanced economic development statewide, including developer-committed investments to support disadvantaged communities. The projects, totaling over 1,700 megawatts of clean energy, will be the largest power generation projects in New York State in over 35 years once they enter operation in 2026, and will continue progress towards achievement of the State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) goal to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2035.

“I promised to make New York a place for the renewable energy industry to do business, and we are delivering on that promise,”  Governor Kathy Hochul said. “Offshore wind is foundational to our fight against climate change, and these awards demonstrate our national leadership to advance a zero-emissions electric grid at the best value to New Yorkers.”

The announcement represents continued action taken by the State as part of New York’s 10-point Action Plan, announced by Governor Hochul in 2023, resulting in competitively selecting over 1,700 megawatts (MW) of clean, locally produced energy which is enough to power one million New York homes and deliver approximately 10 percent of New York City and Long Island’s electricity needs.

As mature projects, Empire Wind I, located 15 miles off New York’s shore, and Sunrise Wind, located more than 30 miles east of the eastern point of Long Island, have already completed most federal and state permitting milestones, including Empire Wind I receiving final approval of their Construction and Operations plan from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) last week. Both projects are expected to ramp up construction activity this year while driving local investments and enhanced economic benefits to New York State at cost-competitive rates. Today’s awards are conditional on successful contract execution. In addition, the Community Offshore Wind 2 project has been waitlisted and may be considered for award and contract negotiation at a later date.

Combined, Empire Wind 1 and Sunrise Wind will:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over three million metric tons annually, the equivalent annual emissions of over 740,000 cars.
  • Usher in the construction and operation of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal assembly and staging port, jump-starting over 400 construction jobs this year to transform the currently inactive 70-acre waterfront site in a disadvantaged community into a thriving offshore wind port.
  • Invest more than $80 million in construction and manufacturing associated with advanced foundation components at the Port of Coeymans.
  • Continue to make investments totaling $135 million in electric grid infrastructure on Long Island and $200 million in transmission related investments, backed by a Project Labor Agreement with Long Island skilled tradesmen and women, including heavy equipment operators, electricians, and line workers.
  • Provide public health benefits resulting from reduced exposure to harmful pollutants – including fewer episodes of illness and premature death, fewer days of missed school or work, less disruption of business, and lower health care costs.
  • Deliver a host of benefits in line with Climate Act goals, with over $1 billion invested in disadvantaged communities, $117 million supporting minority, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses, and over $43 million in workforce development investments.

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “I am incredibly proud of the NYSERDA team’s demonstrated ability to rapidly respond to market challenges by expertly executing on this expedited solicitation in a manner that ensured competition, a robust evaluation process and yielded a cost that is competitive in today’s market. We are excited to see Equinor and Orsted and Eversource step up now and get these projects energized in the near term. Today’s announcement further demonstrates Governor Hochul’s leadership in renewable energy and New York State’s commitment to partnering with companies who will deliver clean offshore wind power, create jobs for future generations and develop critical port infrastructure at the same time.”

Empire Wind 1 and Sunrise Wind were previously awarded by NYSERDA in 2019 as part of NYSERDA’s first offshore wind solicitation. As part of these awards, the projects will be held to new contract provisions that bring additional benefits to the State, including:

  • New economic benefit commitments above what was originally contracted, including $32 million committed to community-focused investments in New York’s disadvantaged communities and $16.5 million towards wildlife and fisheries monitoring.
  • Commitments to purchasing a minimum of $188 million of U.S. iron and steel, supporting U.S. manufacturing and the New York Buy American Act.
  • Requirements for Labor Peace Agreements for operations and maintenance services.

The average bill impact for customers over the life of these projects under these awards will be approximately two percent, or about $2.09 per month. The weighted average all-in development cost of the awarded offshore wind projects over the life of the contracts is $150.15 per megawatt-hour which is on-par with the latest market prices. Following successful contract execution, NYSERDA payments under these awards will only begin once projects have obtained all required permits and approvals, have been completed and begin delivering clean energy to New York.

Equinor Renewables Americas President Molly Morris said, “Governor Hochul and NYSERDA have once again shown their commitment to offshore wind and we are grateful that Empire Wind has been selected to help lead the way. This is an advanced project that will soon deliver reliable renewable power to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, with environmental and economic benefits that begin at the local level and will extend across the state. We thank Governor Hochul and NYSERDA for executing on this expedited process and look forward to continued community engagement as we move toward a groundbreaking at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal this spring.”

Ørsted Group EVP and CEO Americas David Hardy said, “With these provisional awards in New York’s fourth offshore wind solicitation, we can see all the pieces of the state’s offshore wind economy coming together, and we’re incredibly proud of the role Sunrise Wind will play in this new American clean energy industry. We thank Governor Hochul and her administration for driving this industry forward at a critical moment to the benefit of current and future New Yorkers. Sunrise Wind is on a path to adding nearly a gigawatt of clean energy capacity to New York’s grid by the end of 2026, while creating jobs and new career paths, investing in local communities, diversifying the regional energy mix, and propelling the state toward its clean energy targets.”