Distributed Energy Resources

New York solicitation to seek 800 MW of offshore wind

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will launch a solicitation in the fourth quarter for 800 megawatts of offshore wind to jump start a major offshore initiative under an order issued by the New York Public Service Commission on July12.

Winning bidders are slated to be announced in the second quarter next year.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Jan. 29 released a comprehensive New York State offshore wind master plan that sets forth the state’s strategy for meeting its goal of having 2,400 MW of offshore wind energy generation by 2030.

The master plan was prepared by NYSERDA in coordination with several entities including two public power utilities -- the Long Island Power Authority and the New York Power Authority.

Cuomo’s office noted in a July 12 news release that NYSERDA will issue the solicitation in consultation and coordination with NYPA and LIPA. The solicitation is the first step in the state’s goal of adding 2,400 MW of offshore wind.

“With the issuance of this seminal order, New York has taken another major step toward the development of offshore wind off its Atlantic Coast, which will support the state's goal to obtain 50 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2030,” the governor’s office said.

The exact amount that gets procured in the solicitation could vary, depending on the results of the requests for proposals. If needed, a second solicitation could be held next year.

NYSERDA estimates that a mature offshore wind industry could deliver electricity to New York’s downstate area at prices ranging from $80 per megawatt-hours to $130/MWh by 2030, although the prices may be lower given recent market signs, the PSC said.

Including the benefits of cutting GHG emissions, NYSERDA estimates the initiative will cost about $200 million, according to the PSC.

The PSC said NYSERDA would score competitive bids by giving a relative weight of 70 percent to price, 20 percent to economic benefits and 10 percent to project viability.

Besides helping meet New York’s goal of cutting GHG emissions by 40 percent by 2030, offshore wind offers major reliability benefits by being near load centers, according to the PSC. It will also spur employment while possibly improving public health by displacing fossil-fueled generation, the commission said.

"New York State has long been a leader in clean energy, with its long history of clean hydropower generation, and we believe off-shore wind is the next frontier that will lead to more clean energy jobs, as well as new infrastructure and economic development at our sea ports and along our coasts,” said Gil Quiniones, President and CEO of NYPA.

“At NYPA, we have expertise in developing large-scale clean energy projects, and we are excited to have the opportunity to help Governor Cuomo realize his ambitious off-shore wind vision, one that will again position New York State as setting the high bar when it comes to renewable energy and combatting climate change," he said.

NYSERDA is holding a technical conference on July 23 to discuss the upcoming solicitation.

The PSC’s order is available here.

Offshore wind appears to be gaining ground in U.S.

The effort comes as offshore wind appears to be gaining ground in the United States, where there is only one offshore project, the 30-MW Block Island wind farm off the Rhode Island coast.

In May, Massachusetts and Rhode Island utilities announced winning bidders for 800-MW and 400-MW, respectively, and last month Connecticut agencies agreed to buy 200 MW of offshore wind.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has leased 13 areas for offshore wind farms and is preparing to lease more blocks, including two areas off New York's Long Island.

In January 2017, LIPA's Board of Trustees voted to approve the first offshore wind farm in New York. The LIPA board approved of the South Fork Wind Farm, a 90-MW development that is 30 miles southeast of Montauk.