Equinor offshore wind bid wins in New York State

July 18, 2019 20:45 CEST | Last modified July 19, 2019 08:05 CEST
Map of the Empire Wind project

New York State governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced Equinor’s Empire Wind as a winner in the State’s first large-scale competitive offshore wind solicitation. 

The 816 megawatt (MW) offshore wind project will bring renewable energy to New York consumers, contribute to the State’s ambitious renewable energy development goals, and provide significant economic benefits to New York. 

Equinor’s 816 MW winning bid confirms the company’s role as a major contributor in meeting New York State’s renewable energy and climate goals including its goal of 9,000 MW of offshore wind by 2035. It also represents an important milestone for Equinor’s ambition of building an offshore wind core area on the U.S. East Coast. 

The project is expected to be developed with 60-80 wind turbines, with an installed capacity of more than 10 MW each. Total investments will be approximately $3 billion, and the project will be able to power over 500,000 homes in New York, with an expected start up in late 2024.

“Being selected in this highly competitive field of bidders shows the confidence that New York leadership has in Equinor’s capabilities of developing large offshore energy projects, delivering affordable renewable energy while also providing significant economic benefits locally. We are now looking forward to working with our partners throughout New York State to bring this project forward,” Christer af Geijerstam, President of Equinor Wind US, said. 
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Portraits of Christer af Geijerstam and Pål Eitrheim
Christer af Geijerstam (left), president of Equinor Wind US, and Pål Eitrheim, executive vice president for New Energy Solutions in Equinor.

Two years after Equinor secured an attractive 80,000-acre lease area in the New York Bight for Empire Wind, after a strong competition with other bidders, the company has been selected to negotiate a long-term contract with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for offshore wind renewable energy certificates (ORECs). The award remains subject to the execution of the OREC purchase and sale agreement, which Equinor looks forward to finalizing together with NYSERDA.

“We are proud to have been awarded this major wind project offshore New York. Empire Wind represents a breakthrough for Equinor’s global offshore wind ambitions and is an important step in our development as a broad energy company. We have demonstrated that we can be successful in fierce competition, with our first wind project outside of Europe. The project will be the biggest wind farm under contract in our portfolio so far. We are looking forward to developing Empire Wind together with local authorities, local communities and the U.S. industry,” Pål Eitrheim, executive vice president for Equinor New Energy Solutions, said.

Photo of Pål Eitrheim
Pål Eitrheim when New York State governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced Equinor’s Empire Wind as a winner in the State’s first large-scale competitive offshore wind solicitation.  (Photo: Eskil Eriksen / Equinor ASA)

Equinor’s Empire Wind project will help bring renewable energy to New York City while spurring statewide economic development opportunities. The project is expected to create approximately 800 local jobs during construction and operation, including through the creation of locally manufactured turbine foundations in New York’s Capital Region. More broadly, Equinor is committed to developing the nation’s first offshore wind supply chain to support the construction, installation and operation of offshore wind projects.

Equinor will also invest over $60 million in port upgrades in New York that will support future offshore wind projects and further strengthen the state’s position as the U.S. hub for offshore wind.  Further, Equinor will commit at least $4.5M to community benefits and workforce development, which will further the goals of New York’s National Offshore Wind Training Institute and Community and Workforce Benefits Fund.  

Alicia Barton, NYSERDA President and CEO said,
"Today, Governor Cuomo solidified New York’s clean energy and climate leadership status with the single greatest commitment to offshore wind by a state in U.S. The development of Empire Wind will bring significant economic and environmental benefits to New York, help affirm our position as the offshore wind hub of the Northeast and propel us even closer to achieving the Governor’s ambitious climate and energy goals."

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Key facts

  • The Empire Wind site extends 15-30 miles southeast of Long Island, spans 80,000 acres, and covers water depths between 65 and 131 feet. 
  • Each turbine is expected to have an installed capacity of at least 10 megawatts, meaning that the 816 megawatt project will have between 60-80 wind turbines powering over 500.000 homes.
  • Empire Wind is expected to have significant infrastructure and supply chain opportunities at the Port of Coeymans in the Capital Region and South Brooklyn.
  • Equinor will also enter negotiations with New York State contractors and trade labor organizations on a Project Labor Agreement to cover construction activities for the Empire Wind project and is committed to paying prevailing wages.
  • Project development is expected to begin as early as spring 2021, with construction expected in 2022 and commercial operation beginning in December of 2024.
  • A typical offshore wind project of this size represents a total investment of approximately $3 billion. 

About Equinor 

Equinor is developing into a broad energy company, building a material position in renewable energy. Equinor now powers more than one million European homes with renewable offshore wind from four projects in the United Kingdom and Germany. Equinor commissioned the world’s first floating offshore wind farm in 2017 off the coast of Scotland. In the US, Equinor recently acquired a 128,000-acre lease area in federal waters off Massachusetts. Equinor is also developing offshore wind in Poland, as well as solar energy in Brazil and Argentina. 

Press Contacts

  • US media: Julia Bovey +1 9172830198 jbov@equinor.com
  • Other media: Eskil Eriksen + 47 95 88 25 34 eseri@equinor.com
Wind turbine illustration - compared to Chrysler building