New York State Selects Two Shovel-Ready, Re-Bid Projects in 4th Offshore Wind Solicitation

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has selected Equinor’s Empire Wind 1 and Ørsted and Eversource’s Sunrise Wind projects in the state’s fourth offshore wind solicitation. Both projects secured agreements with the state earlier and re-bid in this procurement round to negotiate new 25-year contracts.

NYSERDA and the developers of the selected projects will now negotiate Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Certificate (OREC) Purchase and Sale Agreements, with contract execution expected in the second quarter of this year.  

NYSERDA launched the fourth, expedited offshore wind solicitation in December 2023. Projects with existing agreements were also able to bid as the request for proposals (RFP) did not require projects with existing Offshore Renewable Energy Credit (OREC) contracts to terminate them. However, the rules require cancelling an existing OREC agreement if a such project fails to win in this solicitation.

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For Equinor, the win comes shortly after its Empire Wind projects received federal approval. While the company has progressed the 816 MW Empire Wind 1 to near construction and re-bid the wind farm in the state procurement, Equinor terminated the OREC agreement for Empire Wind 2 at the beginning of this year and said the move repositioned the project to “continue development in anticipation of new offtake opportunities”.

In a press release on 29 February, the developer highlighted Empire Wind 1 was a shovel-ready project.

Equinor expects to take a final investment decision on Empire Wind 1 in mid-2024 and plans to use project financing, with financial close anticipated by the end of 2024. The company also revealed on 29 February an intention to bring in a partner in the project.

Once the project reaches financial close, it will move into the construction stage. The first power from Empire Wind 1 is expected in 2026.  

A key component of the 816 MW project is the transformation of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT) in Sunset Park, where Equinor will build Empire Wind’s operations and maintenance (O&M) facility, with construction scheduled to begin this Spring.

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By being selected in New York’s fourth offshore wind procurement round, Ørsted and Eversource Energy’s 924 MW Sunrise Wind offshore wind farm is now on its way to becoming fully owned by Ørsted.

This follows the agreement the two partners signed at the beginning of this year, under which Ørsted will acquire Eversource’s 50 per cent share of the offshore wind farm. One of the conditions for the acquisition to move forward is Sunrise Wind being selected in New York’s fourth solicitation for offshore wind capacity, which has now been fulfilled.

The takeover is still subject to the signing of an OREC contract with NYSERDA, finalisation of acquisition agreements, receipt of the construction and operations plan (COP), and relevant regulatory approvals.

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Ørsted also notes that its New York project that won in this round is ready-to-build, as well as that, together with Eversource, the company submitted a new proposal for Sunrise Wind in response to New York’s latest offshore wind solicitation, re-bidding an updated project. 

Sunrise Wind submitted a COP in September 2020 and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) started its environmental review the following year. On 11 December 2023, BOEM announced that the agency had completed its environmental review of the Sunrise Wind project and issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

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On 20 December 2023, the developer submitted an updated COP for Sunrise Wind to BOEM. After the environmental review, BOEM will either approve, disapprove, or approve with modifications the proposed activities, the agency says on its website.

Ørsted expects to make the final investment decision on the 924 MW Sunrise Wind project in the second quarter of 2024.

The 924 MW offshore wind farm is anticipated to be operational in 2026 and will begin the full scope of construction once it has received all federal permits, slated for this summer, according to the developer.


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