Cuomo close to awarding big wind-power contract

Source: By DANIEL GEIGER, Crane's New York Business • Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2019

Four bidders responded to the solicitation, ventures that included three large European wind companies – Orsted, Vineyard Wind and Equinor – as well as a joint venture between U.S. oil giant Shell and a renewable energy company. The proposals utilize different offshore sites that have previously been leased by the respondents from the federal government and envision projects that range from 400 megawatts to over 1,000 megawatts.

Several people familiar with the bid say that Cuomo is expected to announce the winner or a collection of winners at an event to be held on Thursday at Fordham Law School in Manhattan. A spokesman for Cuomo would not confirm the event.

“It’s huge for New York City and for the entire state,” said Joe Martens, the director of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance and a former commissioner of the state Dept. of Environmental Conservation. “My expectation is this will probably be the largest single wind procurement award so far in the U.S.”

New Jersey recently selected a venture led by the Dutch wind company Orsted to build a 1,100 megawatt wind farm off the coast of Atlantic City. Orsted also previously entered into a power purchase agreement with the Long Island Power Authority for 130 megawatts from a wind farm it plans to build off of eastern Long Island.

The state said it would agree to purchase at least 400 megawatts of wind power in this initial solicitation, but it could opt to buy more. Each bidder submitted several proposals of varying scale and the state could select one or a combination of winners.

Large wind companies were eager to participate in the New York solicitation in order to establish themselves in a state with several expected large-scale future projects.

“If New York State was a nation on its own, it would have one of the largest offshore wind programs of any nation in the world,” said Clint Plummer, the U.S. head of new projects for Orsted. “Half of the demand for wind in the entire U.S. is in New York right now.”

Wind power would be especially useful to New York City. The City Council recently passed a package of legislation that will require large buildings to cut their carbon footprints 40% by 2030 and then make further reductions in subsequent years. One of the key ways many landlords are expected to reach the lofty goal of greenhouse gas cuts is by plugging into a grid that will be made greener by tapping renewable power sources such as wind. With the planned shutdown of Indian Point, a 2,000 megawatt nuclear power plant 40 miles north of Manhattan, the city’s grid is short on sources of green power in the near term.