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    Sunday, April 14, 2024

    New N.Y. offshore wind project would bring more work to New London

    The state of New York has conditionally awarded one of two offshore wind projects to Ørsted and Eversource, a move that could translate into more activity at New London’s State Pier.

    New York announced on Feb. 29 as part of its latest wind solicitation that it had chosen to negotiate with Equinor Wind US LLC for the 816-megawatt Empire Wind project and Ørsted and Eversource for the 924-megawatt Sunrise Wind, a wind farm capable of powering up to 600,000 homes. The project is located 30 miles east of Montauk Point.

    Ulysses B. Hammond, executive director of the Connecticut Port Authority, said New York’s choice of Sunrise Wind was promising news for the region and state.

    Work at State Pier associated with Sunrise Wind would mean the assembly and marshaling of an additional 84 turbines right behind Revolution Wind's 65-turbine project, Hammond said. He said that means “a steady flow of economic benefits and family-sustaining jobs for the next three to four years before any new and anticipated business comes knocking on our door. ”

    “Moreover, this announcement reaffirms and validates Connecticut's strategy to partner with Ørsted to leverage their investment in a state asset and capitalize on their pipeline of projects for the benefit of our residents and small businesses,” Hammond said about Sunrise Wind.

    Both companies involved in New York’s recent offshore wind proposals were allowed to rebid the projects in consideration of financial woes in the offshore wind industry last year. Some offshore wind projects were canceled and others allowed to exit power purchase agreements or rebid projects to account for increased costs associated with supply chain issues, inflation and higher interest rates. Ørsted, for example, last year canceled development of two projects, Ocean Wind 1 and Ocean Wind 2 in New Jersey.

    If Sunrise Wind comes to fruition, it would be the third and largest offshore wind project to be assembled at State Pier, where work just wrapped up on Ørsted and Eversource’s South Fork Wind, a smaller 12-turbine wind farm in New York.

    "The recent selection of Ørsted and Eversource’s updated Sunrise Wind project bid by the State of New York signifies further near-term momentum for the U.S. offshore wind market, with Connecticut and State Pier playing an important role in bringing the project to life,“ said Justin May, a spokesman for the Ørsted/Eversource partnership.

    “Sunrise Wind will follow Revolution Wind turbine marshaling at the port — slated to commence this spring — and means even more local economic benefits and jobs on the horizon for the state," May said.

    Revolution Wind, the first offshore wind farm to supply power to Connecticut, is a 704-megawatt project with 65 turbines that will bring 304 megawatts to Connecticut and 400 megawatts to Rhode Island.

    Ørsted said it planned to start finalizing agreements with New York’s energy agency, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and work towards a contract for Sunrise Wind. Ørsted has said it anticipates the project to be operational in 2026 but is still working to obtain final federal permits for the project.

    “The final investment decision on Sunrise Wind is expected to be made in the second quarter of 2024,” Ørsted said in a statement.

    In January, Ørsted announced it had signed an agreement to acquire Eversource’s 50% ownership in Sunrise Wind. Eversource has previously announced it was exiting the offshore wind business but said recently the Sunrise project would create hundreds of jobs building the project’s onshore transmission system.

    “We’re ready to build on the foundation we’ve laid with New York’s first offshore wind project, South Fork Wind, while delivering significantly more jobs, local supply chain and community investments and renewable power for New Yorkers,” David Hardy, executive vice president and CEO of Ørsted Region Americas.

    g.smith@theday.com

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