On Monday the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) secured approval from the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) to solicit bids for offshore wind procurement for up to 2.5GW of new capacity. The approval was issued sooner than anticipated, a mere three days after the proceeding’s comment period. PSC’s 4-1 vote approved NYSERDA’s petition, submitted in January, to authorize “Phase II” of the State’s offshore wind program.

Phase II for Offshore Wind

The order from PSC was preceded by a 2018 “Phase 1” PSC authorization that led to contracts executed in 2019 for two large-scale offshore wind projects now slated for construction: the 880-MW Sunrise Wind project sponsored by Ørsted and Eversource and the 816-MW Empire Project sponsored by Equinor US Wind. These projects are expected to be online by 2024. Trade groups report they will generate $3.2 billion in economic activity and support 1,200 high-wage jobs.

The Phase 1 offshore wind procurement is “expected to range between a net direct cost of approximately $0.4 billion and a net direct benefit of approximately $1.9 billion, based on contracted prices and depending on future market prices,” according to NYSERDA.

PSC Commissioners who voted in favor of the new order cited New York’s aggressive nine-gigawatt target (NJ 3.5, MA 3.2) for offshore wind capacity by 2035. NYSERDA’s application stressed the federal Investment Tax Credit for wind power facilities that begin construction in 2020 and undoubtedly PSC’s motivation to act quickly came was influenced by this economic reality. The lone nay voter cited concerns over advancing too quickly in light of uncertainty surrounding the economy as the pandemic forces all industries, including the public sector, to make painful choices.

NYSERDA Shows Restraint

Acknowledging present circumstances, NYSERDA issued a letter to stakeholders explaining that due to disruptions in the human resource, project development, and financial presuppositions the industry has been forced to abandon, it did not make sense to solicit bids on new offshore wind projects in the immediate future.

The 2,500 MW of offshore wind capacity authorized by the order would be the largest solicitation in the country by a substantial margin. Industry observers will undoubtedly be closely monitoring NYSERDA for indication of when it will start the solicitation process. The Authority has expressed a desire to coordinate the offshore wind solicitation to coincide with a separate $200 million port upgrade solicitation.


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Christopher J. Baiamonte

Mr. Baiamonte concentrates his practice primarily on civil litigation. He counsels individual, corporate, and municipal clients on resolving disputes ranging from environmental liability to shareholders rights to creditor–debtor suits. He also works with clients to navigate various state and federal regulations relating to areas such as environmental protection, employment, and civil rights.

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