January 31, 2018

NY Issues Offshore Wind Master Plan, 2,400 MW to be Procured

Holland & Knight Energy and Natural Resources Blog
Stephen J. Humes

After more than a year of extensive research and study of technical and public policy options, New York State issued its comprehensive offshore wind master plan that identifies intentions to develop 2,400 megawatts (MW) primarily in the Atlantic Ocean about 20 miles south of Long Island.

The offshore wind master plan – developed by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) with inputs from many state agencies and public power authorities – envisions a new clean energy industry that will employ up to 5,000 people by 2028, power 1.2 million homes in the state, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to save up to $400 million in annual health impacts.

To encourage offshore wind development, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in his 2018 State of the State address that New York will issue solicitations in 2018 and in 2019 for a combined total of at least 800 MW of offshore wind power. He also announced a $15 million commitment to train the local workforce for good-paying jobs needed to build offshore wind and develop port infrastructure. Gov. Cuomo directed state agencies to evaluate the most promising ways to develop port infrastructure to support the industry and make New York the home for offshore wind in the U.S.

"While the federal government continues to turn its back on protecting natural resources and plots to open up our coastline to drilling, New York is doubling down on our commitment to renewable energy and the industries of tomorrow," Gov. Cuomo said in a press release. "We are drawing upon our world-class workforce, unmatched intellectual capital, physical infrastructure and financial institutions to develop this increasingly affordable clean energy source that creates good paying jobs while protecting Long Island's natural beauty and quality of life."

In conjunction with the issuance of the Offshore Wind Master Plan, NYSERDA issued an Offshore Wind Policy Options Paper with the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) analyzing various contract structures and public policy options to solicit proposals from developers in a cost effective manner. The PSC is expected to commence a docket this Spring to solicit comments for potential requests for proposals and actual solicitations could commence by fall 2018.

The 60-page Offshore Wind Master Plan is accompanied by 20 supplemental studies representing more than two years of work and thousands of pages of analysis, examining potential manufacturing ports, turbine manufacturing and wind-farm construction and staging along with need for cables, pipelines and other infrastructure, and potential environmental impacts.

New York's acceleration into the offshore wind segment of renewable energy comes at a time of increasing activity among other stakeholders in the area, including nearby or neighboring states and public power authorities.  Last year, Long Island Power Authority's board approved a procurement of 90 MW of offshore wind from a developer. Meanwhile, Massachusetts has a comprehensive offshore wind procurement process pending and Connecticut is initiating a process.  While New Jersey had an offshore wind program in place before former Gov. Chris Christie took office, the Christie administration stalled development of New Jersey's offshore wind industry. The newly elected governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, has announced his intention to pursue offshore wind with vigor. On Jan. 16, 2018, during his inaugural address, Gov. Murphy pledged to jumpstart offshore wind power in New Jersey.

So the race is on in the region as states clamor for leadership in the offshore wind industry and New York's signals this week indicate New York seeks to establish itself as the undisputed leader in the area.

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