Pictured Above: Construction continued in February on South Fork Wind. |. Ørsted

New conditional contracts for the offshore wind farms Sunrise Wind and Empire Wind 1 have been accepted by the New York Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA), Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Thursday.

The new contracts replace contracts cancelled by the wind farms last year amidst rising construction costs.

“I promised to make New York a place for the renewable energy industry to do business, and we are delivering on that promise,” said Governor Hochul as she announced the awards. “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 governor’s office says the cost of the energy produced by these projects will impact customer bills by about two percent, roughly $2.09 per month, once the projects begin delivering power.

The project also includes new economic benefit commitments totaling $32 in community investments and $16.5 million in wildlife and fisheries monitoring to communities that host wind farm infrastructure, a commitment to domestic purchasing, including $188 million of U.S.-produced iron and steel, and labor agreements for operations and maintenance services.

“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,” said NSERDA President and CEO Doreen Harris. “We are excited to see Equinor and Ørsted and Eversource step up now and get these projects energized in the near term.”

Sunrise Wind, a joint project of Danish wind farm developer Ørsted and New England energy transmission company Eversource, is a 924-megawatt project slated to be build adjacent to the companies’ South Fork Wind Farm, which is already sending power to Long Island’s grid in East Hampton. Sunrise Wind’s power is slated to come ashore at Smith Point County Park and travel up William Floyd Parkway to a substation in Holbrook.

The project has now received a conditional 25-year contract from New York State as part of the latest round of solicitations.

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 has already hired contractors who are working on the onshore portion of the transmission line. That work will continue.

Sunrise Wind representatives say the project is anticipated to be the largest offshore wind farm in the United States if it meets its schedule to become fully operational in 2026.

The project “will begin the full scope of construction once it has received all federal permits,” which is expected this summer, they added.

All 12 of South Fork Wind’s turbines were in place and most were sending power to the grid by the end of February, 2024, with the expectation that the wind farm will shortly be fully operational.

“We’re ready to build on the foundation we’ve laid with New York’s first offshore wind project, South Fork Wind, while delivering significantly more jobs, local supply chain and community investments, and renewable power for New Yorkers,” said David Hardy, Group EVP and CEO Americas at Ørsted. 

Equinor’s Empire Wind 1 was also selected in this round of bids, and is expected to deliver 810 megawatts to New York, tying into the grid at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park, which is already home to Empire Wind’s Operations and Maintenance Facility. If construction goes according to schedule, Empire Wind 1 is also expected to begin delivering power in 2026.

“This is a promising new beginning for Empire Wind and we’re ready to get started,” said Molly Morris, president of Equinor Renewables America. “We commend the Hochul Administration and NYSERDA for their strong commitment to offshore wind. Now it’s time to deliver a major renewable energy project that will power half a million homes and generate thousands of jobs.”  

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Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she 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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