New York announces largest combined solicitations for renewable energy

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Tuesday the largest combined clean energy solicitations ever issued in the U.S., seeking up to 4,000 megawatts of renewable capacity to combat climate change.

New York’s second offshore wind solicitation seeks up to 2,500 megawatts of projects, the largest in U.S. history, in addition to last year’s solicitation which resulted in nearly 1,700 megawatts awarded. The solicitation includes a multiport strategy and requirement for offshore wind generators to partner with any of the 11 prequalified New York ports to stage, construct, manufacture key components, or coordinate operations and maintenance activities.

This solicitation has the potential to bring New York state halfway toward its goal of 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035 and meet Gov.r Cuomo’s nation-leading climate and environment goals under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Funding for port investments will include $400 million in both public and private funding.

“During one of the most challenging years New York has ever faced, we remain laser-focused on implementing our nation-leading climate plan and growing our clean energy economy, not only to bring significant economic benefits and jobs to the state, but to quickly attack climate change at its source by reducing our emissions.” Cuomo said in announcing the new goal. “With these record-breaking solicitations for renewable energy and new port infrastructure, New York continues to lead the way with the most ambitious Green New Deal in the nation, creating a future fueled by clean, renewable energy sources.”

In addition to the offshore wind solicitation, the governor also announced the issuance by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) of the nation’s largest coordinated solicitations for land based large-scale renewable energy projects by a U.S. state, under the state’s ambitious Clean Energy Standard. Together, the combined solicitations from NYSERDA and NYPA seek to procure over 1,500 megawatts of clean, renewable energy, enough to power nearly 500,000 homes.

Amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the solicitations, combined with a competitive multiport funding opportunity are expected to spur approximately $7 billion in direct investments and to create approximately 4,500 good-paying short and long-term jobs at applicable prevailing wages, helping to jumpstart and drive economic growth as part of reopening and reimagining New York state’s economy. The solicitations prioritize hiring in Environmental Justice Areas and benefits to disadvantaged communities in line with the state’s new climate law.

In aggregate, the offshore wind, port infrastructure, and land-based renewable trifecta of solicitations seek to procure approximately 12 million megawatt-hours, enough to power over 1.5 million homes annually. Together, taking into account the value of avoided carbon emissions, these solicitations are expected to deliver a combined $3 billion in net benefits over the 20- to 25-year life of the projects.

The clean energy industry has proven to be a strong economic driver, outpacing growth in the national workforce by nearly twice the rate pre-Covid and will have a pivotal role in creating short and long-term economic activity to help local economies rebound from the pandemic after reopening. The combined offshore wind and port solicitation marks an important next step in New York’s offshore wind program to build on the state’s first two offshore wind projects — Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind — which represent the single largest renewable energy procurement in U.S. history, at nearly 1,700 megawatts, and will create enough energy to power over one million homes. Notably, the solicitation will accept bids that combine offshore wind generation projects with investments in New York ports to holistically support the state’s burgeoning offshore wind industry through an innovative public/private partnership.

In seeking at least 1,000 megawatts of offshore wind, coordinated with a $200 million opportunity to support local and private investment in port infrastructure, NYSERDA will accept offshore wind bids between 400 megawatts and up to 2,500 megawatts. In addition to delivering a significant amount of clean, renewable energy to New Yorkers, this combined solicitation requests proposals for investment in port infrastructure, aimed to further incentivize private investment, and maximize economic benefits and job creation for New Yorkers while driving future cost reductions for this technology and establishing New York as the hub of the offshore wind supply chain.

The state launched the first phase of this process in October 2019, when it issued a Request for Qualifications that pre-qualified 11 proposers to participate in this competitive process, with the resulting proposals representing an unprecedented suite of projects, a strong indicator of market interest and opportunity.

There are 11 prequalified sites located from Long Island to the Capital Region. These sites, now eligible to partner with offshore wind developers for up to $200 million in public funding for direct use in advancing an offshore wind project and the long-term industry, have the potential to support various supply chain end uses such as staging, installation, manufacturing and operations and maintenance.

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