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New York awards Equinor additional 2.5 GW of offshore wind projects

Highlights

Largest procurement for offshore wind in U.S. to date

Equinor committed to build 3.3 GW for state

Equinor ASA won the largest procurement for an offshore wind project in the U.S. to date, as the State of New York gave the Norwegian state-owned energy company the right to deliver power to the state from two wind farms totaling 2,490 MW of capacity.

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The award allows Equinor to build up to 1,260 MW for its Boardwalk Offshore Wind (Empire Wind) (Rockaway Peninsula) farm along with 1,230 MW in the Beacon Offshore Wind Project. With this award, Equinor is now committed to build up to 3.3 GW of offshore wind power to deliver to the Empire State. In July 2019, New York awarded Equinor the rights to build the first 816-MW phase of the Empire Wind project.

Equinor in September 2020 said it would sell for $1.1 billion a 50% stake in the two wind farms to BP PLC Under the deal, which is expected to close in 2021, Equinor will remain the projects' operator during their development, construction and operation phases.

European companies have dominated the offshore wind bonanza in the burgeoning U.S. East Coast market, crowding out U.S. companies that lack experience and expertise in offshore wind.

The projects "represent a game-changer for our offshore wind business in the U.S.," Anders Opedal, CEO of Equinor, said in a statement. "The U.S. East Coast is one of the most attractive growth markets for offshore wind in the world."

Under the award, Equinor will partner with New York to transform the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal and the Port of Albany into a hub for the construction, staging and manufacturing of offshore wind projects. "Equinor and the State of New York will create a robust offshore wind supply chain capable of manufacturing, assembling, and staging these projects at scale," said Siri Espedal Kindem, president of Equinor Wind U.S.

The awards are a part of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo's goal of developing up to 9,000 MW of offshore wind power by 2035, as called for in the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. The law mandates that New York secure 70% of electricity from renewable energy by 2030, and 100% by 2040. In July 2019, the state, as a part of its first offshore wind solicitation, selected Eversource Energy and Ørsted A/S a contract to build the 880-MW Sunrise Wind Offshore Farm, as well as the first phase of Equinor's Empire Wind project.

The most recent awards bring the state's total offshore wind procurement capacity to 4,300 MW, the Business Network for Offshore Wind said on Jan. 13. The trade group added that Cuomo's office estimates the contracts will bring $8.9 billion in investment to the state and more than 5,200 jobs.

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has repeatedly delayed its final decision on the first proposed offshore wind project in the U.S., Avangrid Inc. and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners K/S's proposed 800-MW Vineyard Offshore Wind Project off the shores of Martha's Vineyard. Avangrid is a subsidiary of Iberdrola SA of Spain.