On 18 July 2019, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo executed the nation's largest offshore wind agreement and the single largest renewable energy procurement by any state in U.S. history - nearly 1,700 megawatts -with the selection of two offshore wind projects, that his office says will create enough energy to power over 1 million homes, create more than 1,600 jobs, and result in $3.2 billion in economic activity.

To jump-start these efforts, Governor Cuomo announced the winners of New York's first comprehensive offshore wind solicitation: the Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind development projects of Equinor US Holdings, Inc. and Bay State Wind LLC, a joint venture of Ørsted A/S and Eversource Energy, respectively.

The Governor’s office says that this offshore wind announcement “is expected to catalyze the first generation of major United States supply chain investments by the fast-growing offshore wind sector, positioning New York to be the hub of the nation's burgeoning offshore wind industry.”

The project developers have committed to make additional investments in manufacturing and port infrastructure, on top of the commitments in Governor Cuomo's 2019 State of the State address. A total of $287 million will be invested in cutting-edge infrastructure in multiple regions of the state, including the Capital Region, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Long Island.

For example, Equinor will invest over $60 million in port upgrades in New York that will support future offshore wind projects and further strengthen the state’s position as the U.S. hub for offshore wind.  Further, Equinor will commit at least $4.5M to community benefits and workforce development, which will further the goals of New York’s National Offshore Wind Training Institute and Community and Workforce Benefits Fund. 

Governor Cuomo also signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, or CLCPA, which adopts ambitious and comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation and advances the Governor's mandate of procuring 9,000 megawatts of clean energy by 2035.

Christer af Geijerstam, President of Equinor Wind US, said, “Being selected in this highly competitive field of bidders shows the confidence that New York leadership has in Equinor’s capabilities of developing large offshore energy projects, delivering affordable renewable energy while also providing significant economic benefits locally. We are now looking forward to working with our partners throughout New York State to bring this project forward.”

Martin Neubert, Executive Vice President and CEO of Ørsted Offshore, said, “New York State has set an ambitious goal to be 100% powered by clean energy by 2040. We fully share that vision, and we’re proud to bring more than two decades of offshore wind expertise to the state and to be fronting the offshore wind build-out in New York with a combined 1,000MW capacity via our South Fork and Sunrise Wind projects.”

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, "At nearly 1,700 megawatts, the selection of Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind under NYSERDA's inaugural offshore wind procurement is nothing short of a watershed moment for the development of large-scale offshore wind in the United States, and by bringing thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity, these projects will also secure New York's status as the U.S. hub for this industry."

Liz Burdock, CEO & President of the Business Network for Offshore Wind, said, “The offshore wind projects will protect our environment, generate good-paying jobs and keep ratepayers’ costs as low as possible. This is happening in New York today, thanks to the Governor’s goals of ending carbon emissions, diversifying the state’s energy resources and accelerating the transition from fossil fuel electricity generation to renewables. At the Governor’s direction, New York is leading the race to develop offshore wind, and its residents will reap the environmental and economic benefits. Now it’s time for the U.S. to move on offshore wind and follow Governor Cuomo’s lead.

“This historic contracts with Orsted and Equinor mean that New York is now fully into the offshore wind marketplace and will supercharge the local and regional supply chains of companies that can now seek to become offshore wind industry suppliers. As members of the Business Network for Offshore Wind, Orsted and Equinor have helped the industry grow immensely from their successes in many European countries. They bring both experience and knowledge to U.S. shores.”

Background on Developers:

Equinor’s project, called Empire Wind, is about 14-35 miles south of Long Island in the New York Bight. This contract proves that Equinor’s move to win the auction for this Wind Energy Area and become the first developer to hold a lease in the NY Bight area has paid off. Equinor also currently holds a Wind Energy Area south of Martha’s Vineyard that it won in the triple auction held by BOEM last December. Ørsted’s Sunrise Wind project is located in the waters off Massachusetts and Rhode Island, about 30 miles from Montauk Point. This project is now added to the existing Block Island wind farm, the Revolution Wind and Bay State Wind farms off of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, the 1100MW Ocean Wind project located 15 miles off of Atlantic City, NJ, and the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project 27 miles off the Virginia coast in the company’s portfolio of U.S. projects.

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