As New York this year readies to build the 132-MW South Fork Wind Farm—its first offshore wind project—the state will dedicate $500 million in funding to enable offshore wind manufacturing and supply chain infrastructure. The investment announced by Gov. Kathy Hochul as part of New York’s 2022 State of the State plan is just one of a suite of measures aimed at kickstarting the state’s offshore wind industry.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) on Jan. 5 unveiled plans to launch its third offshore wind procurement this year, a measure that could support the construction of 2 GW in new projects. The state’s designated R&D agency also moved to initiate a new “master plan”—Master Plan 2.0: Deep Water—“to unlock the next frontier of offshore wind development.” The state additionally said it would work to identify strategic wind cable corridors and access key points of interconnection of the grid as part of a broader plan to realize an offshore wind transmission network.
New York’s efforts are bolstered by an aggressive mandate under its Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act to achieve a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, and to source at least 70% of its power generation from renewables by 2030. So far, the state says it has invested $33 billion in 102 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, but it has also ramped up efforts to improve building energy efficiency, establish clean transportation initiatives, and set up a distributed solar sector.
Offshore wind is set to be a major pillar in the state’s climate goals. While the Climate Act calls for the development of 9 GW of offshore wind by 2035, to date, the state has procured five offshore wind projects—a combined 4.3 GW— and is actively developing five ports.
Combined 4.3 GW of Offshore Wind Power Under Active Development
NYSERDA, which issues competitive solicitations for offshore wind energy and contracts with offshore wind developers to purchase offshore renewable energy certificates (ORECs), has so far executed contracts with Equinor Wind US for its Empire Wind 1 project and Sunrise Wind (a joint venture of Ørsted A/S and Eversource Energy) for its Sunrise Wind Project. Selected as part of the state’s first offshore wind solicitation in 2018, the 816-MW Empire Wind 1 is expected to become commercially operational in 2026, while the 880-MW Sunrise Wind may be online in 2025.
NYSERDA selected two other Equinor projects as part of its second offshore wind procurement solicitation: the second-phase 1.2-GW Empire Wind 2 project and the 1.2-GW Beacon Wind project. Empire Wind 2 is slated to be commercially operational in late 2026, and Beacon Wind, in 2028. However, contract negotiation is reportedly still ongoing.
But if construction begins at Ørsted and Eversource’s 132-MW South Fork Wind Farm as expected in 2022, the project may lead New York’s offshore wind projects. The project is slated to begin commercial operations at the end of 2023. The project will feed the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), a public power entity that is operated by Public Service Enterprise Group subsidiary PSEG Long Island.
South Fork Needed to Feed Demand in Long Island
South Fork, which will be located about 35 miles east of Montauk Point, is being fast-tracked given soaring power demand in the grid in the Town of East Hampton. In 2015, LIPA and PSEG Long Island issued a request for proposals to address this anticipated growth in power demand. The entity ultimately selected South Fork Wind “because it was part of a portfolio that offers the most cost-effective solution to meet this demand, while at the same time increasing grid resiliency on the east end of Long Island,” Ørsted said.
Orsted in November announced the project received its Record of Decision (ROD) from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), “successfully reaching a critical milestone in the federal environmental review.” South Fork “remains on track to be fully permitted by early 2022,” it added. “The South Fork Wind team is now gearing up for site preparation work and the start of construction, beginning as early as January 2022, on the project’s underground transmission line.”
Fabrication of the project’s offshore substation is already underway by Kiewit Offshore Services. Offshore installation of the project’s monopile foundations and 11-MW Siemens-Gamesa wind turbines is expected to begin in summer 2023.
On Wednesday, Gov. Hochul hailed the state’s newest offshore wind developments as a crucial opportunity for New York. “This investment will ensure that New York has the strongest offshore wind energy market along the Eastern Seaboard, enabling us to be the offshore wind supply chain hub for other projects up and down the coast,” she said.
According to American Clean Power, a trade group that represents the renewables industry, U.S. states have so far established 40 GW of offshore wind procurement targets to date. “The U.S. now has a total offshore wind project pipeline of over 14,000 MW in federal lease areas issued to date. In addition, two offshore wind demonstration projects are planned for development in state waters off Ohio and Maine,” it said. “Project developers currently expect 12 offshore wind projects totaling 10,300 MW to be operational by 2026.”