Offshore wind developer Equinor and its incoming partner BP will build a pair of turbine arrays totaling 2,490 megawatts capacity under a new renewable energy procurement announced by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The Empire Wind 2 and Beacon Wind 1 arrays would be among the largest renewable projects in the U.S., Equinor officials said Jan. 13. In combination with Equinor’s planned Empire Wind 1 array, the partners would ultimately deliver up to 3.4 gigawatts of power to the state. The 50-50 partnership with BP, announced in September 2020, is to close in early 2021, according to the companies.

Empire Wind was one of the first East Coast wind leases acquired in 2017, located between 15 and 30 miles southeast of Long Island and spanning 80,000 acres near the New York Harbor approaches. Empire Wind 2 would be the second phase of developing that tract.

The Beacon Wind lease, located more than 60 miles east of Montauk Point at Long Island’s east end and 20 miles south of Nantucket, Mass., covers 128,000 acres. Equinor says that lease has potential to be developed with a total capacity of more than 2.4 GW.

“The execution of the procurement award is subject to the successful negotiation of a purchase and sale agreement, which the partnership looks forward to finalizing together with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority,” according to a statement issued by Equinor.

The agreement includes partnering with NYSERDA and other state agencies to redevelop the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in New York Harbor, and the Port of Albany far up the Hudson River, into industrial support facilities for building the wind projects.

“These projects will deliver homegrown, renewable electricity to New York and play a major role in the state’s ambitions of becoming a global offshore wind hub. The U.S. East Coast is one of the most attractive growth markets for offshore wind in the world,” said Equinor CEO Anders Opedal in a prepared statement.

“The successful bids for Empire Wind 2 and Beacon Wind 1 represent a game-changer for our offshore wind business in the U.S. and underline Equinor’s commitment to be a leading company in the energy transition,” said Opedal.

“These projects will also create value through economies of scale and support our strategic ambition of becoming a global offshore wind major.” “Together, 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. As Equinor works to expand its renewable energy presence across the United States and the globe, New York’s leadership clearly illustrates the transformative benefits of offshore wind on climate goals and economic activity alike,” said Siri Espedal Kindem, president of Equinor Wind U.S.

Cuomo touts offshore wind development as a solution to New York’s energy demands and a boon to its future economy, and port redevelopment is a big part of that calculation. The South Brooklyn terminal would become one of the largest dedicated wind port facilities in the United States, with 73 acres to accommodate the assembly of wind turbine generator and tower components.

At the Port of Albany, Equinor will work with wind industry companies Marmen and Welcon to make it into an offshore wind tower and transition piece manufacturing facility. Components built there would be transported down the Hudson for staging and on to offshore construction sites.

Contributing Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been an editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for over 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.

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