offshore wind

Brooklyn Waterfront Lands Role in New York State’s Offshore Wind Push

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January 14, 2021

By Josh Saul and Will Wade (Bloomberg) —

New York is poised to become a hub for offshore wind energy with the state on Wednesday tapping Norwegian giant Equinor ASA to build two projects in the Atlantic and develop an aging Brooklyn waterfront site into a port to handle massive turbines.

The South Brooklyn Marine Terminal will be one of the largest dedicated offshore wind port facilities in the U.S., at about 73 acres (30 hectares), with capacity for turbine staging and assembly, according to the company.

Equinor will pay for upgrades to the terminal, which will service as much as 3.3 gigawatts of offshore wind built and operated by the company and its partner, BP Plc. That’s enough to power about 2 million homes.

“We have big plans for the U.S. East Coast,” Siri Espedal Kindem, president of Equinor Wind U.S., said in an interview. “This fits so well into the energy transition.”

The Brooklyn terminal will be the biggest offshore wind deployment port in the U.S., said Willett Kempton, co-founder of the Center for Research in Wind at the University of Delaware. The terminal’s size makes it a good fit for turbine deployment. “It meets the space requirement, which is very tough to do in the Northeast.”

U.S. states up and down the East Coast are pushing to build sprawling wind farms in the Atlantic Ocean to bring clean energy to dense coastal cities. The turbines, which are as tall as skyscrapers and can each crank out enough power for a small town, are seen as key weapons in the fight against global warming.

Reinvigorating the 1960s-era site in Brooklyn has been a key goal for New York City, which has already invested at least $115 million in recent years to upgrade it. Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday he wants to make New York a “global wind energy manufacturing powerhouse.” The terminal will create 1,200 jobs, he said in his state of the state address.

New York selected Equinor to provide nearly 2.5 gigawatts of offshore wind power to the state in one of the biggest renewable-energy awards ever.

The company previously won approval to provide New York with 816 megawatts from a project south of Long Island that’s expected to go into operation in the mid-2020s. One of the new projects will be adjacent to that site, with 1.3 gigawatts of capacity that will go into service in 2027. The other project, east of Long Island, will have 1.2 gigawatts and be done in 2028, Kindem said.

The Equinor plans are subject to negotiation of a purchase and sale agreement, according to the statement.

The state also announced plans for a factory 150 miles up the Hudson River from New York City at the Port of Albany to manufacture offshore wind towers.

“This is part of a major wave of multiple thousands of megawatts that are projected to go in from New England down to Virginia and the Carolinas,” said Kit Konolige, a Bloomberg Intelligence utilities analyst. “It’s a very ambitious project.”

New England and New York are focused on building offshore wind, in part, because there isn’t room near large cities to build large solar or wind farms on land.

“They’ve decided that offshore wind is the way to go even though it’s clearly the most expensive,” Konolige said.

The cost of power from an offshore wind farm over its entire lifetime is about $115 per megawatt-hour, based on projections for projects that would go into service in 2025, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. A new natural gas plant, meanwhile, is about $37 per megawatt hour.(Updates with information and quote from University of Delaware professor Willet Kempton in fifth paragraph.)

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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