Empire Wind Offshore Wind Farm: 816 MW in New York

The U.S. offshore wind farm will expand with the Empire Wind project to develop 816 MW off the coast of New York. Eventually, having developed its potential of 2 GW, the park will power more than one million New York homes.

In 2020, Equinor and BP entered into a 50-50 partnership for Empire Wind, although Equinor will remain the operator. The project will contribute to the state’s renewable energy and climate goals: 9 GW of offshorewind energy by 2035.

Empire Wind Offshore Wind Farm: planned since 2016

The future Empire Wind offshore wind farm is located off the coast of New York. The area was auctioned by the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in December 2016. Equinor signed the commercial lease in 2017.

It has obtained the lease rights to the project for $42.5 million. The total investment in the wind farm project will be approximately $3 billion. Although it remains the operator, the construction of the project is financed by private investors.

That is why, in September 2020, Equinor entered into an agreement with BP. The USD 1.1 billion deal includes the sale of a 50% non-operated interest in the project. It also includes a 50% interest in the Beacon wind project on the East Coast of the United States.

The transaction should be completed soon, as it was announced for early 2021.

Generate 800 jobs before 2025

The 816 MW offshore wind farm is under development. The project is currently in the research and permitting stage. The first power of the farm is planned for 2025 at the most.

The next step is the development of the Construction and Operations Plan (COP). The CDP will describe all activities required for the construction, operation and decommissioning of offshore wind farms.

Between the construction and operation phases, the project is expected to generate approximately 800 local jobs.

2 GW of wind power in the long term

The project aims to achieve 2 GW of offshore wind power capacity. It is expected to meet the electricity needs of more than one million homes in New York City.

To this end, the first phase of Empire Wind is expected to include 60 to 80 wind turbines. And each turbine should have an installed capacity of 10 to 15 MW.

New inter-network cables with twice the power

A 66 kV XLPE insulated inter-grid cable system will transmit power from the wind turbines. With a total length of 150km, the cables will transmit twice the current industry standard.

To do this, Equinor relies on the Prysmian Group. The cabling system is expected to be completed in 2022 for final installation by 2024.

Minimize environmental risks

Aker Solutions designs gravity foundations

The offshore wind farm will incorporate gravity foundations to minimize risks to marine wildlife. Aker Solutions is therefore in charge of studying the design and delivery of concrete foundations for the wind turbines. The company actually signed an engineering and design (FEED) contract with Empire Offshore Wind on January 17.

Aker Solutions’ preliminary engineering work will benefit several other U.S. partners and suppliers. This includes the construction company Kiewit Infrastructure Inc. and the McLaren regulation and licensing expert.

Coexist with the fauna and flora

Equinor will collect oceanographic data thanks to 3 types of buoys. This will allow the company to establish itself effectively through mapping of currents and monitoring of the environment in the area. This is to avoid or reduce the potential impact of the Empire Wind installation.

It will therefore exploit data from two floating light detection and ranging (LIDAR) buoys. But he will also use a mooring buoy at the underground power meter. And the collection and analysis of meteorological data will be done via a MetOcean buoy produced and installed by the RPS group.

Coexist with other marine industries

Equinor also wishes to make offshore wind energy coexist with other marine industries. He therefore set up a series of consultations with various stakeholders. In addition to protecting the environment, this will answer questions about the economic impact of the platform.

This is particularly true of the impact on the fishing industry. This issue is of great concern to many West Coast mariners. So Equinor opened a dialogue with fishermen from Massachusetts to New Jersey.

Back in 2017, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo committed to a clean energy standard. Requiring that 50% of the state’s electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2030. In this sense, Empire Wind will play a key role in helping New York achieve its goal.

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