Equinor Re-Bids Empire Wind 1 in New York; Rules Allow for Projects with Existing ORECs to Participate
Equinor is bidding in the expedited offshore wind solicitation in New York with Empire Wind 1, the 810 MW project that already secured an Offshore Renewable Energy Credit (OREC) contract in 2019, as the rules of New York’s procurement provide for projects with existing ORECs to bid into the solicitation.
The company first revealed its participation in New York’s fourth offshore wind procurement round on 25 January, when Equinor and its now-former partner in the US offshore wind market, BP, announced that they were restructuring the ownership of their joint projects. The move has resulted in Equinor becoming the sole owner of the Empire Wind projects and BP taking full ownership of the Beacon Wind projects.
On 26 January, Equinor issued a press release about its proposal for Empire Wind 1, a shovel-ready project that is expected to produce its first power in 2026, according to the company.
The news came only a few weeks after the agreement with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to terminate the OREC contract for Empire Wind 2, which BP and Equinor said would be matured for future solicitation rounds.
Empire Wind 2 secured the OREC agreement in 2021 and Empire Wind 1, which Equinor has now entered into the state’s fourth solicitation (NY-4), has an OREC agreement in place since 2019, when the project was selected in New York’s first-ever offshore wind procurement round. The agreement for Empire Wind 1 was not terminated.
The project is able to be re-bid with its state contract still in effect as NYSERDA’s rules allow for projects with existing ORECs to take part in the solicitation without the requirement for OREC agreements to be terminated.
“The NYSERDA request for proposals states that a project with an existing OREC was not required to terminate the OREC to bid into NY-4,” a spokesperson from Equinor said in an email statement to offshoreWIND.biz.
However, specific T&Cs in this case apply, as the previously secured OREC agreement would be cancelled if the project fails to win in this solicitation.
“If the developer is not chosen in NY-4, the existing OREC is terminated; if a developer wins in NY-4, the existing OREC contract is terminated concurrently with the new OREC agreement being executed,” Equinor spokesperson said.
According to Equinor, while Empire Wind 2 will be further matured, the 810 MW Empire Wind 1 “is in a clear position to move forward” in New York’s fourth round and has already achieved several key permitting milestones, including its Article VII Certificate of Environmental Capability and Public Need from the New York Public Service Commission.
In November 2023, the Empire Wind projects received the federal go-ahead from the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).
Equinor says that, if selected, Empire Wind 1 would generate billions of dollars in economic activity, wide-reaching community benefits and dependable union jobs, and transform South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT) into a world-class hub for offshore wind.
SBMT will serve as the operations and maintenance (O&M) hub for Empire Wind 1 and will be the site where the project’s onshore substation will be located.
The Empire Wind offshore wind farm is planned to comprise Vestas 15 MW wind turbines and is expected to have a commercial lifespan of 35 years.
The deadline for submission of bids in New York’s fourth offshore wind solicitation was 25 January. NYSERDA is expected to announce the selected projects in February.
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