Report: Three offshore wind projects cancelled off New York

April 22, 2024
Cancellations seen as setback to state’s renewable energy goals.

Offshore staff

ALBANY, New York – Three offshore wind projects planned off the state of New York have been cancelled following an announcement last week by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the state authority in charge of the deals.

As reported by Politico, NYSERDA said on April 19 that no final agreements could be reached with the three projects that had received provisional awards in October 2023. Those bids were all linked to major supply chain investments by General Electric and a larger turbine it planned to build that was aimed at boosting the region’s renewable energy portfolio.

The projects that were negotiating contracts are the 1,404 MW Attentive Energy One project being developed by TotalEnergies, Rise Light and Power and Corio Generation; the 1,314 MW Community Offshore Wind project developed by RWE Offshore Renewables and National Grid Ventures; and the 1,314 MW Excelsior Wind developed by Vineyard Offshore with backing from Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.

“Subsequent to the provisional award announcement, material modifications to projects bid into New York’s third offshore wind solicitation caused technical and commercial complexities between provisional awardees and their partners, resulting in the provisionally awarded parties’ inability to come to terms,” NYSERDA wrote in an announcement.

In February, Politico’s E&E News reported that GE did not plan to move forward with an 18- megawatt turbine. NYSERDA confirmed that was the main reason no final awards were made.

As a result, the three projects would have needed to rely on smaller 15.5 MW turbines, which in turn meant that the developers would have needed to build and install more offshore foundations to site each turbine – a move that would have added significant time and labor costs to each project.

Marie J. French, the author of the Politico article, commented that: “New York’s signature offshore wind projects meant to boost confidence in the industry are being scrapped, a major hit to the industry in the state and the nation.”

The cancellations are not the total end of offshore wind in New York but they do represent a “setback,” French wrote. There are still some projects off the coast of Long Island and New Jersey on the drawing board and one is already operational.

French also commented: “The unsuccessful solicitation comes after several blows to the industry in the US in the past year, indicating the high costs and regulatory hurdles each project faces — along with the concern over socking utility customers with higher bills to pay for them.” 

New York awarded the three projects after the state Public Service Commission last fall rejected a request for higher prices from other developers. The PSC drew a line in the sand that likely constrained NYSERDA’s negotiations: no price increases for competitively awarded projects. Other early projects canceled their deals after the decision, and similar moves have upended efforts in other states.

The state’s utility regulator — publicly backed by Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration — has held firm on its policy of limiting rate increases on consumers, even as a transmission line running into New York City that supports the 2030 target faces financial uncertainty.

Environmental advocates are alarmed by the challenges facing the industry. Offshore wind is key to reaching New York’s goal of 70% renewable energy sources by 2030, along with other longer-term targets. “But there is growing evidence that the mandate will be hard to reach,” French wrote in the Politico article.

NYSERDA had also tentatively awarded $300 million to GE Vernova and LM Wind Power for investments in nacelle and blade manufacturing at new facilities along the Hudson River near Albany. That money will be made available through a new competitive solicitation, according to the authority.

“NYSERDA remains committed to advancing New York’s offshore wind industry in pursuit of the state’s Climate Act goals,” spokesperson Kate Muller said in a statement. “Next steps will be announced in the near future.” The authority was already expected to start another round of offshore wind bids and may accelerate those efforts.  

It is possible that some of the project developers might turn their attention to winning awards in New Jersey, where another solicitation is expected later this year.

New York also has pending contracts still in the works for the two other projects that were re-awarded at significantly higher costs for ratepayers. The two projects are the 810 MW Empire Wind 1 developed by Equinor that is south of New York City and the 924 MW Sunrise Wind developed by Orsted and Eversource off the northeast tip of Long Island.

NYSERDA’s schedule calls for those contracts to be finalized by the end of June. Those projects are expected to be online by late 2026.