NEW YORK OFFSHORE WIND
The Atlantic Ocean off the east coast of the United States has some of the best wind power resources in the world. The wind is strong and consistent, and peak winds correspond to daily peak electricity demand. Importantly, strong winter winds correspond with peak heating demand, offering an opportunity to convert to cleaner, more efficient electrical heating systems.
The Atlantic Ocean off the coast of New York has the potential to support thousands of megawatts of wind-driven power generation, and with each megawatt of offshore wind capable of powering more than 400 homes, millions of New Yorkers could get their electricity from this clean, reliable, cost-effective source.
Offshore wind turbines are getting larger and more efficient. The first commercial offshore wind turbines had the capacity to generate about 500 kilowatts or half a megawatt. Today’s turbines are capable of generating 8 MW or more, and the next generation of turbines will produce 12 MW or more! In addition, with the Atlantic Ocean's strong and consistent wind, offshore wind turbines, have a 40% or higher capacity factor, making them an extremely reliable power source.
The nation's first five offshore wind turbines, which were installed in 2016 in Rhode Island state waters three miles off of Block Island, are capable of producing 6 MW and are 589 feet tall to the tip of the turbine blade. The Block Island Wind Farm produces enough power for some 18,000 homes and eliminated the need to burn a million gallons a year of polluting diesel fuel.
Offshore wind energy is coming to New York! In 2018, Governor Cuomo announced a goal to build 2,400 MW of offshore wind power. NYSERDA then released a “Offshore Wind Master Plan” that provides a roadmap for offshore wind development in New York. The Master Plan included 20 appendices that covered virtually every aspect of offshore wind development from its impact on birds and bats to an analysis of necessary ports and infrastructure.
In August 2018, the Public Service Commission followed up on the Governor’s commitment and issued an Order (Case 18-E-0071). The Order called for NYSERDA to issue the first ever offshore wind procurement in NY history for 800 MW or more of generating capacity. NYSERDA subsequently issued a Request for Proposals and bids are due in February of 2019.
Governor Cuomo upped the ante in his 2019 State of the State and Executive Budget address by calling for a new offshore wind target of 9,000 MW by 2035--a nation-leading goal! He also proposed dedicating up to $200 million for offshore wind port development and infrastructure and proposed investing in a workforce training center.
Offshore wind will save money for all New Yorkers by deferring the need to build costly new fossil-fired power plants and controversial transmission lines in downstate New York. By the 2020's, New York City and Long Island will need more than 1,000 MW of new power generation. Offshore wind built with New York labor and installed over the horizon off the coast of Long Island can serve this need by delivering clean power directly where it's needed. The contracted price of offshore wind power in Europe has dropped more than 50% in the last seven years due to scale and technological improvements, to the point where it is now cost competitive with new fossil-fired generation. The first commercial-scale contract awarded in a Massachusetts bid came in a $65/MWh and is expected to reduce ratepayers’ bills.
Large-scale offshore wind development and its requisite supply chain can be a major economic driver for New York. The NY Offshore Wind Master Plan estimated that construction of 2,400 MW of offshore wind could create some 5,000 new jobs and more than $6 billion in economic benefits. The benefits from 9,000 MW would be far greater.
Based on experience in Europe, properly sited offshore wind turbines will have minimal impact on human activities including fishing, shipping, aviation and view sheds. In addition, wildlife impacts, including birds, marine mammals and fisheries, can be minimized through responsible siting, construction and operation techniques.
Supporters of offshore wind power run the gamut from major environmental organizations to municipal, labor, community and business leaders; supply chain companies, including major manufacturers and vessel operators; and developers, including offshore wind and port developers.