As part of its ambitious long-term clean energy plan, New York has signed off on the two biggest offshore wind deals in U.S. history. The two projects will be located in the waters off Long Island and have a combined capacity of almost 1,700 MW — a sizeable chunk of New York’s 2035 wind energy target of 9,000 MW.
Contracts for the two wind farms, which are expected to be operational by 2024, were hugely sought after and prompted much courting from a number of developers. Ultimately, however, they have been awarded to Norwegian company Equinor, and a joint enterprise between Denmark’s Orsted and American business Eversource.
The Empire Wind facility — Equinor’s project — will comprise somewhere between 60 and 80 turbines, covering an area of 80,000 acres, for a capacity of 816 MW. This kind of wind energy generation will be capable of powering over 500,000 homes. Its proposed location is about 14 miles south of Jones Beach.
The second project, Sunrise Wind, is in the hands of Orsted and Eversource. Located around 30 miles east of Montauk Point, it will have a slightly larger capacity of 880 MW. Though the overall cost has yet to be disclosed, some estimates suggest a combined value of over $5 billion.
Wind energy is very popular in Europe, with 18,499 MW of offshore wind energy currently installed, but the United States is in the earlier stages of development with regard to wind energy. The first offshore wind farm in the U.S. began commercial operations just a few short years ago in 2016.
Though there are still a number of permitting and environmental hurdles to overcome, these two huge contracts certainly signal intent for wind energy, and renewable energy in general, for the U.S.
By Shane Croghan