Statoil launches Empire Wind project off New York

Norway-based Statoil ASA announced it will develop its 79,350-acre federal lease off New York as the Empire Wind project, with the potential to generate up to 1 gigawatts of power toward the state’s plan for shifting to renewable power sources.

The company also launched a new website, www.empirewind.com, to promote its project to the public. Offshore wind developers like Statoil and Rhode Island-based Deepwater Wind have powerful political backing from state leaders – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants up to 2.4 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030 – but siting plans around Long Island are getting intense scrutiny from maritime and fishing industry groups.

The name Empire Wind captures the pivotal role that this important project will play in helping New York achieve its ambitious renewable energy goal,” said Christer af Geijerstam, Statoil’s Empire Wind project director, in announcing the formal launch. “Empire Wind also speaks to the leading role that New York State is taking in advancing the deployment of offshore wind technology in North America.”

The project is in its very early stages of evaluating the site, a triangular patch of ocean south of Long Beach, N.Y., flanked by shipping traffic separation lanes to the port of New York and New Jersey. Statoil officials say their team is gathering detailed information about the seabed conditions, grid connection options and wind resources.

“Statoil looks forward to working with all stakeholders as we move forward with the job of bringing offshore wind energy to New York,” said Geijerstam of Statoil. “We are committed to working with other developers, state officials, unions and the business community to develop a U.S. supply chain for this and other offshore wind projects. Our goal is to help make offshore wind a leading option for generating clean and affordable energy in New York.”

Statoil currently has seven offshore wind projects online or under development in Europe, including the Hywind offshore wind project in Scotland that is using the world’s first operational 30 mW array of floating, anchored wind turbines. Statoil is betting the technology could open deepwater wind areas farther offshore, including the U.S. west coast and Hawaii.

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