Two New Wind Energy Projects Coming to New York

Source: By Jimmy Vielkind and Russell Gold, Wall Street Journal • Posted: Monday, July 22, 2019

The Atlantic Ocean wind farms will total 1,700 megawatts, enough electricity to power 1 million homes

Former Vice President Al Gore, left, joins Gov. Andrew Cuomo as he signs the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act at Fordham Law School in Manhattan on Thursday. Photo: Scott Heins/Getty Images

The size of New York’s commitment was a surprise. Last year, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority sought bids for an 800-megawatt project. The state increased its award because costs were lower than expected and the potential for economic development was very attractive, a New York energy official said.

The wind farms will make New York state home to the most offshore wind generation in the U.S.—for now. Massachusetts is considering awarding contracts to build more than 3,000 megawatts of offshore wind. Last month, New Jersey awarded a contract for a 1,100-megawatt wind farm, also to Ørsted.

“This is an epic milestone in New York’s tradition of environmental leadership,” Joe Martens, director of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance, said in a statement. “New York State has moved quickly and deliberately in its quest to transition to clean, renewable energy and today’s announcement demonstrates the state’s resolve to take advantage of the steady winds far off its coast to reduce air pollution, create jobs and establish New York as the epicenter of a new American industry.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the projects at a Manhattan event with former Vice President Al Gore, a fellow Democrat. The governor also signed a law that will mandate the state reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 85% by 2050.

Mr. Cuomo said that the project, combined with $200 million of state investments in port infrastructure, “will help make New York the hub of this growing, exciting, necessary future industry.”

The projects will come online by 2024, Mr. Cuomo said. The state said it hopes to generate 10% of its electricity from offshore wind farms by 2025.

A representative for the governor said the state is still negotiating final contracts with the companies, which will include total project costs and a specific rate of state subsidy.

Ørsted announced last year that it is acquiring the developer of the first offshore wind farm in the U.S., off the coast of Rhode Island, for $510 million.

Thomas Brostrøm, CEO of Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind and president of Ørsted North America, said he expects this is the beginning of a period of rapid growth for the offshore-wind industry in the U.S.

“The technology has matured quite a lot and at the same time, the cost has come significantly down,” he said.

Ørsted plans to use 8-mw turbines that are about 700 feet tall, about two-thirds of the size of the Empire State Building.

Under Mr. Cuomo, New York has said it plans to build about 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind. Mr. Brostrøm said he expected there to be about 20,000 megawatts eventually off the Northeastern U.S. “That is ambitious, but realistic in my view over the next 10, 12 years,” Mr. Brostrøm said.

The offshore-wind industry has flourished off the coasts of Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom. It is beginning to spread globally, with tenders in Taiwan and Japan. The U.S. had no offshore-wind installations until a couple of years ago, but the industry appears poised to expand rapidly as state commitments to generating carbon-free electricity have grown and the cost of offshore wind has decreased.