Norwegian energy major, Equinor, has been awarded two of the largest US offshore wind contracts to supply clean energy to New York State. As per the award, Equinor along with incoming strategic partner, British Petroleum (BP), will build offshore wind energy production facilities at Empire Wind 2 and Beacon Wind 1. The former will have a generation capacity of 1,260 megawatts (MW) and the latter will be capable of generating 1,230 MW of energy. The two projects will be an addition to existing commitment to produce 816 MW of clean energy from Empire Wind 1. Taken altogether, the entire offshore wind energy generation capacity totals up to 3.3 gigawatts (GW) – which will establish New York State as the wind energy hub of the country.
Of late, a string of offshore wind projects have been proposed and are under construction. Thanks to its climatic advantage, United Kingdom is leading with most number of active offshore wind projects. UK’s Hornsea Wind Farm has set its objective to expand its generation capacity to 6 Gigawatts with the completion of the 3rd subzone of development. The project is being monitored by Orsted (formerly DONG Energy) and Global Infrastructure Company through a 50:50 joint venture partnership. Triton Knoll Wind Farm located off the coast of Lincolnshire in North Sea, England is also under construction with a planned capacity of 855 MW. China also has 3 projects of 400 MW in line namely CTGNE Yangjiang Shapa – phase II, Rudong H6, and Rudong H10 – all scheduled to be finished towards the end of 2021.
Under the procurement agreement, which remains subject to purchase/sale negotiation with New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSRDA), Equinor and BP will transform the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT) and the Port of Albany into full-fledged, large-scale offshore wind working industrial facilities. The Equinor CEO Anders Opedal is confident that the new facilities will strengthen the infrastructure by instigating a clean offshore wind powered supply chain. He further stated that Equinor’s collaboration with New York State will provide transformative climatic and economic benefits to all of the US and, eventually, the rest of the world.
Moreover, the step to expand New York’s offshore wind capacity is in line with Joe Biden’s newly proposed energy policy, which stresses the importance of investment in green infrastructure and increasing the use of American made energy, especially through solar and wind.
As per IEA’s Offshore Wind Outlook 2019, the offshore wind business is set grow into a $1 trillion business in the next decades. The net present global value of offshore wind is estimated to be $24.6 billion. A projection based on quantum studies states that by the year 2040, the EU will have 127 GW of installed offshore wind capacity, followed by China and the US at 107 GW and 38 GW respectively. The report further suggests offshore wind energy will boost efforts to decarbonize energy generation methods and prove to relieve air pollution.
With the largest economies beginning to incline towards offshore wind energy, the activities in the industry are expected to take pace – which will involve huge investments. Offshore wind projects presents an opportunity to sustainable investors who are looking to harbor their investments as well as make a positive environmental impact.