New York PSC Gets Things Rolling on Offshore Wind Grid Connections

The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) has issued an order related to offshore wind transmission systems that modifies future offshore wind energy procurements to include options for connections through “meshed” grids and requires Consolidated Edison Company of New York Inc. (Con Edison) to submit details of a 5-6 GW onshore interconnection hub plan.

Based on offshore wind recommendations from a power grid study that was conducted pursuant to the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act of 2020, the New York PSC has now directed the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to require future offshore wind proposals to be designed with the optional capability to interconnect with a meshed system if the PSC recommends such configurations in the future.

The PSC has also directed Con Edison to submit the details of an onshore hub that would include availability of points of interconnection in lower Manhattan for 5 GW to 6 GW of offshore injections.

In addition, the PSC has established a working group to assess advanced transmission technologies that can help achieve targets from the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) at reduced cost and directed the utilities to identify pathways to implementing such technologies across the State, with a progress report due in six months.

“The Power Grid Study offered numerous recommendations for driving transmission investment toward CLCPA goals, and the Commission has responded to many of those in prior orders. Today, among other things, the Commission addressed the Study’s critical recommendations relating to the integration of 9 GW of offshore wind with the State’s onshore network”, said Commission Chair Rory M. Christian on 20 January as the New York PSC issued the order.

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The State’s first offshore wind project, the South Fork Wind Farm, is set to start construction any day now, after receiving the final approval from the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) this month.

Meanwhile, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will launch its next offshore wind procurement this year, which is expected to result in at least 2 GW of new projects, enough to power 1.5 million homes, bringing the state’s combined total to more than 4.5 million homes powered by offshore wind.

New York recently procured 2.5 GW of offshore wind generation capacity from Equinor and BP’s two projects, with 1,260 MW of renewable offshore wind power coming from Empire Wind 2 and 1,230 MW from Beacon Wind 1.

Along with the two gigawatt-scale offshore wind farms, Equinor and BP are also developing the 816 MW Empire Wind Phase 1 wind farm which was selected in New York’s first-ever offshore wind solicitation in 2019 alongside Ørsted and Eversource Energy’s 924 MW Sunrise Wind project.

Earlier this month, the US Department of the Interior (DOI) announced that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold an offshore wind auction for the New York Bight, located in federal waters offshore New York and New Jersey, which could lead to up to 7 GW of offshore wind energy capacity being brought to the country’s energy mix.

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Photo: Ørsted/Illustration