As New York Gears Up for Increasing Offshore Wind, Ørsted Brings on a New Partner

The Danish firm Ørsted, which recently bought Deepwater Wind, announced Feb. 8 that they have entered a 50-50 partnership with Eversource, a New England energy company and electric transmission builder.

Deepwater Wind has proposed the South Fork Wind Farm, about 35 miles off the coast of Montauk, which would power the East End through a power purchase agreement with the Long Island Power Authority.

The companies announced in a joint press release that Eversource is paying approximately $225 million dollars for a 50 percent interest in Ørsted’s Revolution Wind and South Fork Wind Farm projects, as well as in a 257-square-mile tract off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Ørsted acquired all three assets in November 2018 as part of its Deepwater Wind transaction.

This transaction builds upon the companies’ Bay State Wind partnership, which is a 50-50 collaboration on a 300-square-mile ocean tract adjacent to an area already leased by Deepwater Wind.

The Bay State Wind and the Deepwater Wind lease sites jointly owned by Eversource and Ørsted “could eventually host at least 4,000 megawatts of offshore wind,” they said in their press release.

The two companies said they “will jointly manage permitting requirements for upcoming projects and will honor all planned local investments and agreements entered prior to this partnership.”

“We are excited to have Eversource join us as we embark on the creation of the strongest U.S. offshore wind platform,” said Ørsted North America President Thomas Brostrøm. “With their expansive knowledge of the energy market throughout the region, and by building on both company’s community outreach programs, we are on track to ensure that the Northeast will be the North American hub for offshore wind energy.”

“Offshore wind will provide a growing and critical source of zero-carbon energy in a region with very aggressive carbon reduction and renewable energy goals,” said Eversource Executive Vice President for Enterprise Energy Strategy and Business Development Lee Olivier. “This transaction solidifies our partnership as the strongest developer of offshore wind in the Northeast and is consistent with Eversource’s efforts to be a key catalyst for clean energy development in our region.”

The South Fork Wind Farm is slated to be commissioned by the end of 2022 and Revolution Wind is expected to be commissioned in 2023.

State Assemblyman Fred Thiele, who in January withdrew his support for the South Fork Wind Farm, citing unanswered questions about the cost and power produced by the project, on Feb. 8 released a letter he’s since received from executives at Ørsted and Deepwater Wind.

“We write to express our sincere and firm commitment to reestablishing the constructive, trust-based relationship that long existed between your office and Deepwater Wind,” wrote co-CEOs Thomas Brostrøm and Jeffrey Grybowski. “We recognize that our communication with your office has not been up to the standards we expect from our team and for that we apologize.”

“You have long been one of Long Island’s most forceful and effective voices for renewable energy, and for our efforts to bring offshore wind to Long Island specifically,” they added. “We are committed to being the most trusted developer of offshore wind in America, and as a community partner that is respectful of the needs and interests of the East End community.”

They added in their letter that they will next week “be submitting a proposal for another, larger offshore wind farm to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.”

The agency, NYSERDA, is soliciting bids for 800 megawatts of offshore wind energy, in support of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s target goal of 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind by the year 2030. Bids are due this Thursday, Feb. 14.

While the bids are being solicited by New York State, more wind energy areas are already leased to wind companies by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in Massachusetts and Rhode Island waters, though the power produced there could be sold to New York.

Deepwater Wind and Eversource’s Bay State Wind, southeast of the South Fork Wind Farm in Massachusetts waters, could conceivably provide power to New York. Another offshore wind firm, Equinor, is pitching a project called Empire Wind just east of the Rockaways.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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