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New York Gives Final Go-Ahead for Empire Wind 1 Construction to Commence

Norway’s Equinor has received final approval from the New York State Public Service Commission to begin construction on its 810 MW Empire Wind 1 offshore wind farm, Governor Kathy Hochul announced on 16 May.

The Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) issued on 16 May authorized the construction and operation of transmission facilities for the delivery of electricity into New York from the Empire Wind 1 offshore wind farm.

The facilities approved for placement within New York’s jurisdiction include two 230 kV alternating current submarine transmission cables extending from the boundary of New York State waters to the cable landfall in Brooklyn and a 0.2 mile-long onshore cable route including two 230 kV alternating current transmission cables buried underground connecting to an onshore substation.

Other transmission facilities designated for location within New York’s jurisdiction also include an onshore substation located at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT) that will increase the voltage to 345 kV and two 345 kV alternating current onshore transmission cables buried underground from the onshore substation to a Point of Interconnection with Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc.’s existing Gowanus 345 kV substation in Brooklyn.

“It is critical that construction begin in early May for the developer to keep the construction schedule on track and achieve the anticipated commercial operation date,” New York State Public Service Commission Chair Rory M. Christian said.

In February, Equinor was granted a conditional award following a revised bid for the power purchase agreement and was in the process of finalizing terms with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

A month later, the Norwegian company was granted authorisation from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to link the project directly into New York’s transmission system.

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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.  

The offshore wind farm is planned to utilise Vestas’ 15 MW wind turbines.

The foundations and transition pieces will be supplied by the Dutch offshore wind foundation manufacturer Sif. In its recent trading update, the company revealed that it started the production of the units and will continue to do so during the next nine months.

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