Cuomo Backs Statoil’s NY Project, Proposes 2.4GW of Offshore Wind by 2030

In his State of the State address delivered yesterday, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo expressed support for the development of offshore wind power in the lease area for which Statoil won the rights at the government’s lease sale in December, and proposed a commitment to develop up to 2.4GW of offshore wind by 2030.

Image source: Office of New York State Governor on flickr

To ensure the project is cost-effective and it has no negative impact on the stakeholders like fishermen, maritime industries, coastal communities, and labor, Cuomo has called on NYSERDA (New York State Energy and Research Development Authority) to work with Statoil.

The company has been declared the provisional winner for the 79,350-acre area following the auction that saw a record price reached and Statoil agreeing to pay USD 42.5 million. For comparison, all the lease sales together held to that point have generated around USD 16 million in winning bids for more than a million acres in federal waters.

“The company won the lease for $42.5 million, demonstrating the powerful commercial interest in developing offshore wind for New York State,” the Governor’s press release states.

In Europe, Statoil currently holds a 40% share in the Sheringham Shoal wind farm in the UK, which has been operational since 2012. The company’s Dudgeon offshore wind farm in the UK and the world’s first floating offshore wind farm, Hywind Scotland, are scheduled to be commissioned in 2017. Earlier this year, Statoil acquired 50% of the Arkona offshore wind farm in Germany, which is expected to enter operation in 2019.

Meanwhile, on the continent where Statoil has an offshore wind history, the cost of offshore wind projects has been drastically reduced in the second half of 2016, with the latest competitive tenders in Denmark and the Netherlands resulting in an offshore wind power price of around 5 Eurocents per kWh.

Statoil’s New York lease comprises an area that could potentially accommodate more than 1GW of offshore wind, with a phased development expected to start with 400-600MW.

Upon winning at the auction, the company said its next step is to conduct studies to better understand the seabed conditions, the grid connection options and wind resources involved in the lease site. “We will work closely with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) on these studies and throughout the permitting process, and in connection with power offtake options,” Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil’s executive vice president for New Energy Solutions, said in December.

More clean energy, more jobs

Aside from bringing a vast amount of renewable energy into the New York electricity mix, by committing to develop 2.4GW of offshore wind by 2030, the New York Governor wants to set the path for job creation and economic development in the state.

“New York’s unparalleled commitment to offshore wind power will create new, high-paying jobs, reduce our carbon footprint, establish a new, reliable source of energy for millions of New Yorkers, and solidify New York’s status as a national clean energy leader,” Governor Cuomo said.

The development of offshore wind farms will be done in a responsible way, making sure it does not burden the consumers and that visual impacts are minimised through appropriate siting, including the erection of wind turbines farther from the coast, since the industry has reached a point where new foundations, as well as installation methods, allow for construction in deeper waters.

“The governor’s announcement of an ambitious offshore wind program for New York—that 2,400 megawatt commitment—is an exciting one. As is all too clear, we need states like New York to lead on climate and clean energy issues now more than ever,” Kit Kennedy, Director of Energy and Transportation program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The commitment will be advanced through the state’s Offshore Wind Master Plan, which will be completed by the end of 2017.

“The Offshore Wind Master Plan will establish a bold strategy to harness this untapped resource in New York and provide a new source of energy to power a brighter, greener future for all,” Cuomo said.

The offshore wind development is part of Governor Cuomo’s strategy which aims at 50% of New York’s electricity coming from renewable energy sources by 2030 and 80% by 2050.

As part of advancing offshore wind in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has also called on the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) to approve Deepwater Wind’s 90MW South Fork offshore wind farm.

Offshore WIND Staff