Equinor’s Empire Wind 1 has been selected in New York’s fourth offshore wind solicitation (NY4), a major step toward developing a project that can provide renewable power to more than half a million New York homes.

Under this conditional award and pending an agreement on final terms with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Empire Wind 1 is set to deliver 810 megawatts (MW) of power that will help New York achieve its target of 9,000 MW of offshore wind by 2035 and establish the state as a leader in the offshore wind industry.

A key component of the Empire Wind 1 project is the transformation of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT) in Sunset Park. Home to Empire Wind’s Operations and Maintenance Facility, SBMT will become New York’s first purpose-built offshore wind staging and port facility and will serve as a hub for offshore wind activities for years to come. Onshore construction at SBMT is scheduled to begin this spring. First power from Empire Wind 1 is expected in 2026.

“This is a promising new beginning for Empire Wind and we’re ready to get started,” said Molly Morris, president of Equinor Renewables America. “We commend the Hochul Administration and NYSERDA for their strong commitment to offshore wind. Now it’s time to deliver a major renewable energy project that will power half a million homes and generate thousands of jobs. Empire Wind 1 will create value for New Yorkers and for investors for years to come. We have a highly experienced organization in place and will continue to engage closely with the community as we prepare to break ground at SBMT.”

In addition to the investments in SBMT, Empire Wind 1 will generate substantial economic activity in the state, support workforce development, and channel investment to disadvantaged communities. The project has made significant investments in local initiatives such as the Offshore Wind Innovation Hub and the $5 million Ecosystem Fund, both of which provide new opportunities for New Yorkers to join the emerging offshore wind industry.

NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, "New York's selection of Empire Wind 1 marks a significant step toward realizing our ambitious climate goals but also underscores the important value of fostering and deepening private-public partnerships. We look forward to working with Equinor to harness the power of offshore wind to clean New York’s electric grid, bring near term development to our ports, and deliver promising economic, environmental, and public health benefits for New Yorkers."

Equinor and NYSERDA will now negotiate an Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Certificate (OREC) Purchase and Sale Agreement, with contract execution expected within Q2 2024.

Following a final investment decision expected mid-2024, Equinor plans to use project financing, with financial close anticipated by end of 2024. Equinor also intends to bring in a partner to enhance value and reduce ownership share and exposure in the project.

Empire Wind 1 has already achieved several key state and federal permitting milestones, including its Article VII Certificate of Environmental Capability and Public Need from the New York Public Service Commission. Last week, Empire Wind received the approval of its Construction and Operations Plan (COP) from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.