Pictured Above: The South Fork Wind Farm is now sending power from six turbines to the Long Island grid. |. Ørsted photo
As the South Fork Wind Farm announced in mid-January that half of its 12 wind turbines are installed and sending power to the East End grid, offshore wind developers unveiled their updated plans as part of a new solicitation from the New York State Energy Research & Development Agency (NYSERDA).
NYSERDA released the new request for proposals in November of 2023 after the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) refused to consider a request from renewable energy developers for larger payments for contracts they had already signed. The developers told the PSC at the time that supply chain issues and financing costs had increased their expected development costs after they signed the contracts.
The developers of two major offshore wind projects were among those who petitioned for larger payments — Sunrise Wind, a project by the South Fork Wind developers (Ørsted and Eversource) geographically adjacent to the South Fork Wind Farm , and Empire Wind, a joint project of Equinor and BP slated for development off the coast of Long Beach.
Both developers announced in late January that they have submitted the Sunrise and Empire projects as part of the new NYSERDA solicitation, and they plan to restructure the ownership of those wind farms if their projects are are awarded the new contracts. NYSERDA is expected to announce the winners sometime in February, 2024.
Both developers also announced they are reevaluating other major wind farms in their portfolios.
The developers of Sunrise Wind announced Jan. 25 that if they are awarded the contract, Ørsted will acquire Eversource’s 50 percent share of the project. Eversource, a New England-based energy transmission company, has already hired contractors who are working on the onshore portion of the transmission line from Smith Point County Park to a substation in Holbrook. That work is continuing.
“Should Sunrise Wind be successful in the re-bid, Ørsted would pay 50 percent of the negotiated purchase price upon closing the sales transaction, with the remaining 50 percent paid when onshore construction is completed and certain other milestones are achieved,” Ørsted announced Jan. 25. “If the project is not selected, the existing contract for Sunrise Wind would be cancelled, per the state’s requirement, and the 50/50 joint venture will remain in place. Ørsted and Eversource would then assess their options in determining the best path forward for Sunrise Wind and its assets.”
Ørsted also announced Jan. 25 that it is withdrawing its proposed Skipjack 1 and 2 projects, totaling 966 megawatts, which had been proposed off the coast of Maryland, from an agreement with the Maryland Public Service Commission.
Ørsted Group Executive Vice President and CEO Americas said that agreement was “no longer commercially viable because of today’s challenging market conditions, including inflation, high interest rates and supply chain constraints,” though the company is committed to continuing the project in the hopes there will be better opportunities to make it commercially viable.
Sunrise Wind, which Ørsted describes as the “most mature offshore wind project in New York’s pipeline,” is a 924-megawatt project expected to be completed in 2026 if it receives the NYSERDA award.
“Sunrise Wind will be our third offshore wind farm off the Northeast coast, following South Fork and Revolution Wind, which are already under construction,” said Mr. Hardy. “The Northeast is an increasing priority for Ørsted, including these projects, port assets, a trained workforce, and supply chain partners. We’re building a future offshore wind hub that is strategic for Sunrise Wind, if awarded, as well as for upcoming solicitations in the region, helping us to differentiate and de-risk potential future bids and projects.”
South Fork Wind’s 12 turbines are expected to shortly generate 132 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 70,000 homes on the East End, tying into a substation in East Hampton Village. Ørsted announced Jan. 18 that six of the turbines are operational and providing power to the Long Island grid and the seventh turbine had been installed.
Ørsted and Eversource’s Revolution Wind is a 704-megawatt project that is slated to provide power to Connecticut and Rhode Island beginning in 2025.
Empire Wind also announced Jan. 25 that it has “entered into a swap transaction with bp, under which Equinor will take full ownership of the of the Empire Wind lease and projects and bp will take full ownership of the Beacon Wind lease and projects.”
Empire Wind 1 is an 810-megawatt project expected to tie into the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, which the companies had been slated to redevelop “into a world-class hub for offshore wind.” Work to redevelop the terminal is expected to begin in the first half of this year.
According to Equinor, “Brooklyn is already home to Empire Wind activity with the New York project office, the Offshore Wind Innovation Hub headquarters and as the future home of the Offshore Wind Learning Center, which will directly support offshore wind education.”
Equinor and bp announced in early January that they had withdrawn their contract with New York for their 1,260 megawatt Empire Wind 2 project, but said Jan. 25 that the project “will be matured for future solicitation rounds.”
“Empire Wind 1 is ready to deliver on New York’s climate and energy goals, with numerous permits and supplier contracts secured. The strong commitment by the state to develop this industry is reflected in the NY4 rapid rebid offering, providing an opportunity to improve value creation for the project,” says Molly Morris, senior vice president for Renewables in the Americas in Equinor.
Beacon Wind is sited off Massachusetts just south of Nantucket. The first phase of that project is expected to deliver 1,230 megawatts of power from up to 155 wind turbines to a point of interconnection in Queens, according to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The second phase has a potential capacity of 1,360 megawatts.
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