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Offshore Wind Development

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Under New York's Clean Energy Standard (CES) and the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York State is committed to providing 70% of New York State's electricity from renewable sources such as wind, solar, and hydroelectric power by 2030 and be 100% carbon free by 2040. To help reach this goal, New York State has committed to developing 9,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind by 2035, which is enough to power up to 6 million homes.

To help ensure the responsible development of offshore wind in New York State, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), with consultation of DEC, produced the New York State Offshore Wind Master Plan.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is the federal entity that manages the exploration and development of energy resources on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). BOEM is moving forward with wind energy planning efforts on the OCS in the New York Bight region, which represents an area of shallow waters between Long Island, New York to the north and east, and the New Jersey coast to the south and west. The OCS Lands Act requires BOEM to award leases competitively, unless BOEM determines there is no competitive interest.

New York State Projects in Development

map of empire wind & sunrise wind area
Empire Wind & Sunrise Wind Area Map

NYSERDA has held two competitive solicitations for offshore wind energy, bringing totals to over 4,300 megawatts under active development statewide.

During the 2018 solicitation, NYSERDA selected and contracted with two offshore wind projects totaling nearly 1,700 megawatts:

  • Empire Wind 1: (816 megawatts, Equinor Wind LLC) Located 11.5 nautical miles (nm) from Jones Beach, NY, encompassing the western portion of the lease area.
  • Sunrise Wind: (880 megawatts, Ørsted A/S and Eversource Energy) The project area is approximately 30 miles east of Montauk Point.

During the 2020 solicitation, Equinor was provisionally awarded two other offshore wind projects totaling 2,490 megawatts:

  • Empire Wind 2 (1,260 megawatts) Located 11.5 nautical miles (nm) from Jones Beach, NY, encompassing the eastern portion of the lease area.
  • Beacon Wind (1,230 megawatts) Located 60 miles east of Montauk Point.
For more information on these projects, visit NYSERDA's Offshore Wind Solicitations. To stay updated on the federal permitting status of the Empire Wind project and opportunities for public comment, visit BOEM's Empire Wind webpage.

South Fork Wind Farm

While not contracted under New York State's Public Service Commission recommendations, South Fork Wind Farm (SFWF) will contribute to the State's offshore wind goals by providing electricity to power 70,000 homes in New York. Located approximately 19 miles southeast of Block Island, Rhode Island and 35 miles east of Montauk Point, New York, SFWF is a private procurement between Ørsted (formerly Deepwater Wind, LLC) and the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) for 130 megawatts of offshore wind.

NYSERDA Technical Working Groups

DEC participates in a number of offshore wind Technical Working Groups (TWGs) established by NYSERDA to bring key stakeholder groups together with state and federal regulators and the global offshore wind industry. There are currently four active TWGs consisting of commercial fishing, the environment, maritime commerce, and the job and supply chain.

Fisheries Technical Working Groups (F-TWG)

The Fisheries Technical Working Group (F-TWG) provides guidance and advice on how to responsibly advance New York State's offshore wind energy development while also protecting New York's and the regions valuable resources and resource users. New York is leading this multistate approach, which includes fisheries representatives from New England and the Mid-Atlantic who fish the New York Bight, as well as offshore wind developers.

The F-TWG operates under the mission of guiding New York's offshore wind development in a way that is both environmentally friendly and protects the region's valuable fisheries and fishing communities. It does this by:

  • Enhancing communication and coordination: Improves communication between the fishing community and offshore wind industry developers.
  • Distributing information: Makes sure the fishing community and offshore wind industry knows about existing data, research, and information sources.
  • Supporting research: Provides ideas and feedback on scientific and technical studies that address offshore wind energy project planning, siting, construction, operation, monitoring, or other related topics.

Environmental Technical Working Group (E-TWG)

The Environmental Technical Working Group (E-TWG) is an independent advisory body to the State of New York with a regional focus on offshore wind and wildlife issues in the eastern U.S. It is comprised of offshore wind developers and science-based environmental non-government organizations (NGOs), as well as state and federal wildlife regulatory agencies.

The E-TWG helps promote environmentally responsible advancement of offshore wind development through (1) regional collaboration and (2) advice and guidance to New York State. It objectives are to:

  • Improve our understanding of, and ability to manage for, potential effects of offshore wind energy development on wildlife.
  • Develop transparent, collaborative processes for identifying and addressing priority issues relating to wildlife monitoring and mitigation.
  • Reduce permitting risk and uncertainty for developers by improving clarity in expectations and processes for wildlife monitoring and mitigation.

State of the Science Workshop

The State of the Science 2020 Workshop, hosted by the NYSERDA, brought together over 430 stakeholders engaged with environmental and wildlife research relevant to offshore wind energy development and focused on cumulative impacts, building on efforts made during the first workshop held in 2018. Following the workshop, seven workgroups were formed in order to identify research priorities to better-understand the cumulative impacts of offshore wind on: environmental change, fishes & aquatic invertebrates, bats, sea turtles, marine mammals, birds, and benthos.

In May 2021, the State of the Science Culmination Webinar presented workgroup recommendations and discussed common themes among groups and produced workgroup reports that are available for download.

Maritime Technical Working Group (M-TWG)

The Maritime Technical Working Group (M-TWG) is an independent advisory body led by New York State Department of State and supported by funding from NYSERDA. The M-TWG is comprised of regional stakeholders in shipping and navigation, as well as state and federal partners such as the United States Coast Guard and the United States Army Corp of Engineers. The group advances New York's offshore wind development goals by focusing on identifying issues and potential resolutions related to the safe navigation of vessels to and from New York Harbor and areas adjacent to offshore wind project sites during all phases of development.

Job & Supply Chain Technical Working Group (JSC-TWG)

The JSC-TWG is an independent advisory body led by NYSERDA and focused on advancing workforce development, the broader supply chain, and private development in port infrastructure in New York State. The group is comprised of offshore wind developers, global manufacturers, local economic development stakeholders, academia, and state agencies.

BOEM New York Bight Wind Energy Areas

In order to fulfill New York State's goal of competitively attaining 9 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2035, the state petitioned the federal government's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to add additional lease areas within the New York Bight. BOEM produced a Call for Information and Nominations to delineate new areas for offshore wind development. After reviewing the comments received in response to the call, draft Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) were developed within the New York Bight.

draft wind energy areas
Draft Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) delineated by BOEM
  • BOEM released final WEAs on March 29, 2021 in their Notice to Stakeholders (NTS) to prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA).
  • On June 14, 2021, a Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) for the WEAs was published in the Federal Register, initiating a 60-day comment period. The PSN includes the sale of up to eight new leases in the New York Bight and provides information on these potential leases, lease provisions and conditions, and auction details.
  • On August 10th, 2021, BOEM also announced the availability of a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) that addresses the potential impacts of the issuance of commercial and research leases within the WEAs.
  • A Final Sale Notice (FSN) and subsequent lease auction is expected for late-2021 or early-2022.

For more information, visit BOEM's activities in the New York Bight.

Regional Offshore Wind Collaborations

Given the large scale of offshore wind projects, a number of entities have been created which focus on national and regional concerns associated with development of offshore wind. These groups include:

Additionally, the Synthesis of the Science is a joint effort that brings together the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), and the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance (RODA). The overarching purpose is enhancing regional and national understanding of existing science and data gaps related to offshore wind energy interactions with fish and fisheries. For more information visit, RODA's website.