Four major wind energy developers submitted 18 different proposals last week for new offshore wind farms of varying scopes that would potentially pump electricity to New York State—including at least one set of alternatives that would seek to bring power ashore in Hampton Bays.
Two of the bidders—including the companies that now control the assets and contracts for Deepwater Wind—have already leased expansive areas of ocean southeast of Block Island from the federal government and have large wind farm projects in the planning pipeline that would supply the South Fork and New England.
The new proposals submitted on Thursday, February 14, to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, or NYSERDA, would add new turbines to those areas and run additional energy supply lines buried in the ocean floor to landing points farther west on Long Island, where they could be connected to the power grid.
One of the bid packages was submitted by Bay State Wind, a joint venture between Ørsted U.S. Offshore, the Danish wind energy giant that purchased Deepwater Wind last fall, and Eversource, the New England utility company that announced earlier this month that it purchased half of Ørsted’s interest in the South Fork Wind Farm and other wind projects Deepwater had in the works.
The two companies already have plans for nearly 200 turbines, producing some 1,600 megawatts of power, in the waters southeast of Block Island, in the same vicinity as the South Fork Wind Farm off Montauk, to serve Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, with which they have already secured power purchase contracts.
Bay State Wind’s principals control the leases for more than 500 square miles of ocean floor already approved by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for wind farm development, and have room to add hundreds more turbines to serve other areas. Bay State has dubbed its new project for New York “Sunrise Wind.”
“Governor Andrew Cuomo has set an ambitious goal for New York’s transition to renewable energy sources, [and] Ørsted looks forward to helping New York achieve this critical mission,” Ørsted US Offshore Wind CEO Thomas Brostrøm said in a statement issued by the company last Thursday. “As the global leader in developing offshore wind farms, we share the vision of a world that runs entirely on green energy. We are confident that Sunrise Wind will not only offer New Yorkers an opportunity to provide national leadership in building a carbon-free energy grid, but also create significant job and economic development opportunities for Long Island and upstate New York.”
Though the details of the bid proposals have not yet been made public by either the companies or NYSERDA, a representative of Ørsted alerted Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman on the day the bids were submitted that certain alternatives in the Liberty Wind proposal included a proposal to land the power cable at an as-yet-undetermined site in Hampton Bays.
Mr. Schneiderman said he has not seen any of the bid proposals and does not know any of the details about the landing alternatives or connections to the power grid locally. He said that if the project were to be chosen by NYSERDA, there would have to be negotiations with the town about a potential landing of the cable here.
“I haven’t seen the details, and I would want to see what’s in it for Hampton Bays, but it’s all something that would have to be extensively reviewed by the town,” he said. “We all want to move away from fossil fuels, so we want to support these things. But it has to be done right.”
In 2014, Deepwater Wind had proposed a 35-turbine wind farm that would send power to Long Island from the same area as the South Fork Wind Farm—which lies about 30 nautical miles southeast of Montauk—with the power cable coming ashore in the Hampton Bays region. Later, the landing site was moved to Wainscott.
Another package of bids came from Vineyard Wind, another joint venture between large energy companies, one of them foreign, that own the lease on a large swath of ocean off the Northeast coast. Vineyard Wind is already working on an application for an 800-megawatt wind farm 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, which would send power to Massachusetts.
Both companies’ bids included a variety of project sizes, ranging from 400 megawatts to 1,200 megawatts in different arrangements to give New York the most options to give the go-ahead for in the first round of procurement.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has steadily ramped up New York’s goals for drawing power from renewables, especially offshore wind farms. He has now said he wants the state to be receiving 9,000 megawatts of power from offshore wind by 2035—enough to power nearly 5 million households. NYSERDA has said it plans to put out requests for procurement proposals in 800-megawatt chunks, basically annually, starting with this first round of bids.
Another of the bids submitted last week came from Equinor, a Norwegian company formerly named Statoil, that won the lease on an 80,000-acre wedge of sea floor 15 miles south of Jones Beach, a development it is calling Empire Wind.
The fourth bid package came from Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, a joint venture between EDF Renewables North America, a French energy company, and Shell New Energies U.S., which purchased the rights to a BOEM lease area off New Jersey in December from U.S. Wind Inc.
State officials applauded the robust response to NYSERDA’s first round of bid requests.
“The response to this solicitation underscores New York’s undisputed place as a national clean energy leader,” a NYSERDA spokesperson said in a statement released after bids were submitted. “Today’s record response provides the robust competition needed to responsibly develop offshore wind for New Yorkers while spurring billions in private sector investment in New York, creating thousands of jobs and putting the state on a path to a carbon-neutral future.”
The state will announce the projects it is choosing for the first round of procurement in the spring.