New York State is seeking up to 4,000 megawatts of new renewable energy capacity to combat climate change, announced Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday, including up to 2,500 megawatts of offshore wind, the largest state offshore wind solicitation in the country’s history.
In July of 2019, New York awarded bids for offshore wind totaling 1,700 megawatts to two wind farms — a joint 880 megatwatt project proposed by South Fork Wind Farm developers Ørsted and New England electric transmission company Eversource. That wind farm is slated to be placed just southeast of the proposed South Fork Wind Farm, which is slated to be 35 miles off Montauk, and is currently under review by regulatory agencies.
The new solicitation announced Tuesday includes a requirement for offshore wind generators to partner with any of the 11 prequalified New York ports to stage, construct and manufacture components, or coordinate operations and maintenance for the wind farms, to ensure that manufacturing and operations jobs go to New Yorkers at a time when ports in other nearby states are competing for investment from the offshore wind industry.
Mr. Cuomo announced there will be $400 million in public and private funding made available for port infrastructure in conjunction with this solicitation.
So far, the only port on Long Island qualified to participate in the program is Port Jefferson. Other sites range from the Brooklyn Navy Yard to the Arthur Kill Terminal, up the Hudson River to the Port of Albany.
The state has set a goal to be generating 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035 under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Projects built through this solicitation would bring the state halfway to that goal.
“During one of the most challenging years New York has ever faced, we remain laser-focused on implementing our nation-leading climate plan and growing our clean energy economy, not only to bring significant economic benefits and jobs to the state, but to quickly attack climate change at its source by reducing our emissions.” said Mr. Cuomo in announcing the plan Tuesday. “With these record-breaking solicitations for renewable energy and new port infrastructure, New York continues to lead the way with the most ambitious Green New Deal in the nation, creating a future fueled by clean, renewable energy sources.”
But the offshore wind industry has not been immune to the effects of the pandemic.
The 15-turbine South Fork Wind Farm, off of Montauk, slated to be the first offshore wind farm to supply New York with power, has suffered some setbacks this year, as litigation continues between Ørsted and members of the small South Fork community of Wainscott, where the wind farm company hopes to bring the cable ashore. Ongoing hearings in that case have been delayed by court closures due to the pandemic.
A permit schedule from the federal government for the Construction and Operations Plan for the South Fork Wind Farm was also delayed due to pandemic-related government closures, said Ørsted CEO and President Henrik Poulsen on his April 29 quarterly earnings call, pushing the expected completion date for that project from 2022 to “beyond 2022,” he told listeners on the call.
The New York State Energy & Research Development Agency (NYSERDA) also announced Tuesday it is seeking more than 1,500 megawatts of renewable land-based energy projects, which would power nearly 500,000 homes.
Mr. Cuomo’s office said the solicitations are intended to jump-start economic growth and create 4,5000 short and long-term prevailing wage jobs, spurring $7 billion in direct investments.
The solicitations prioritize hiring in Environmental Justice Areas to benefit disadvantaged communities, as outlined in the Climate & Community Protection Act.