Empire Wind I and Sunrise Wind Will Foster More Than 800 Near-term, Family-Sustaining Jobs

February 29, 2024

Governor Hochul today announced the State has conditionally awarded two offshore wind projects from its fourth offshore wind solicitation – a planned 810-megawatt project, Empire Wind 1, (developed by Equinor) and Sunrise Wind, a planned 924-megawatt project (developed by Orsted and Eversource). The competitively selected projects will create more than 800 near-term family-sustaining construction jobs and invest $2 billion in near-term enhanced economic development statewide, including developer-committed investments to support disadvantaged communities. The projects, totaling over 1,700 megawatts of clean energy, will be the largest power generation projects in New York State in over 35 years once they enter operation in 2026, and will continue progress towards achievement of the State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) goal to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2035.

“I promised to make New York a place for the renewable energy industry to do business, and we are delivering on that promise,” Governor Hochul said. “Offshore wind is foundational to our fight against climate change, and these awards demonstrate our national leadership to advance a zero-emissions electric grid at the best value to New Yorkers.”

“Today’s announcement is the latest step forward as President Biden continues to deliver historic progress on growing the American offshore wind industry, creating good-paying union jobs, and advancing our ambitious climate and clean energy goals,” said White House Deputy National Climate Advisor Mary Frances Repko. “With support from the President’s Investing in America agenda, these projects will benefit local workers and communities and strengthen a domestic manufacturing base that stretches across the nation. The Biden-Harris Administration will continue to partner with leaders like Governor Hochul and other governors across the country to build on unprecedented offshore wind efforts – from permitting projects and leasing wind energy areas, to catalyzing a Made in America supply chain, to expanding port and transmission infrastructure.”

Today’s announcement represents continued action taken by the State as part of New York’s 10-point Action Plan, announced by Governor Hochul in 2023, resulting in competitively selecting over 1,700 megawatts (MW) of clean, locally produced energy which is enough to power one million New York homes and deliver approximately 10 percent of New York City and Long Island’s electricity needs.

As mature projects, Empire Wind I, located 15 miles off New York’s shore, and Sunrise Wind, located more than 30 miles east of the eastern point of Long Island, have already completed most federal and state permitting milestones, including Empire Wind I receiving final approval of their Construction and Operations plan from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) last week. Both projects are expected to ramp up construction activity this year while driving local investments and enhanced economic benefits to New York State at cost-competitive rates. Today’s awards are conditional on successful contract execution. In addition, the Community Offshore Wind 2 project has been waitlisted and may be considered for award and contract negotiation at a later date.

Combined, Empire Wind 1 and Sunrise Wind will:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over three million metric tons annually, the equivalent annual emissions of over 740,000 cars.
  • Usher in the construction and operation of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal assembly and staging port, jump-starting over 400 construction jobs this year to transform the currently inactive 70-acre waterfront site in a disadvantaged community into a thriving offshore wind port.
  • Invest more than $80 million in construction and manufacturing associated with advanced foundation components at the Port of Coeymans.
  • Continue to make investments totaling $135 million in electric grid infrastructure on Long Island and $200 million in transmission related investments, backed by a Project Labor Agreement with Long Island skilled tradesmen and women, including heavy equipment operators, electricians, and line workers.
  • Provide public health benefits resulting from reduced exposure to harmful pollutants – including fewer episodes of illness and premature death, fewer days of missed school or work, less disruption of business, and lower health care costs.
  • Deliver a host of benefits in line with Climate Act goals, with over $1 billion invested in disadvantaged communities, $117 million supporting minority, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses, and over $43 million in workforce development investments.

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “I am incredibly proud of the NYSERDA team’s demonstrated ability to rapidly respond to market challenges by expertly executing on this expedited solicitation in a manner that ensured competition, a robust evaluation process and yielded a cost that is competitive in today’s market. We are excited to see Equinor and Orsted and Eversource step up now and get these projects energized in the near term. Today’s announcement further demonstrates Governor Hochul’s leadership in renewable energy and New York State’s commitment to partnering with companies who will deliver clean offshore wind power, create jobs for future generations and develop critical port infrastructure at the same time.”

Empire Wind 1 and Sunrise Wind were previously awarded by NYSERDA in 2019 as part of NYSERDA’s first offshore wind solicitation. As part of these awards, the projects will be held to new contract provisions that bring additional benefits to the State, including:

  • New economic benefit commitments above what was originally contracted, including $32 million committed to community-focused investments in New York’s disadvantaged communities and $16.5 million towards wildlife and fisheries monitoring.
  • Commitments to purchasing a minimum of $188 million of U.S. iron and steel, supporting U.S. manufacturing and the New York Buy American Act.
  • Requirements for Labor Peace Agreements for operations and maintenance services.

The average bill impact for customers over the life of these projects under these awards will be approximately two percent, or about $2.09 per month. The weighted average all-in development cost of the awarded offshore wind projects over the life of the contracts is $150.15 per megawatt-hour which is on-par with the latest market prices. Following successful contract execution, NYSERDA payments under these awards will only begin once projects have obtained all required permits and approvals, have been completed and begin delivering clean energy to New York.

Equinor Renewables Americas President Molly Morris said, “Governor Hochul and NYSERDA have once again shown their commitment to offshore wind and we are grateful that Empire Wind has been selected to help lead the way. This is an advanced project that will soon deliver reliable renewable power to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, with environmental and economic benefits that begin at the local level and will extend across the state. We thank Governor Hochul and NYSERDA for executing on this expedited process and look forward to continued community engagement as we move toward a groundbreaking at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal this spring.”

Ørsted Group EVP and CEO Americas David Hardy said, “With these provisional awards in New York’s fourth offshore wind solicitation, we can see all the pieces of the state’s offshore wind economy coming together, and we’re incredibly proud of the role Sunrise Wind will play in this new American clean energy industry. We thank Governor Hochul and her administration for driving this industry forward at a critical moment to the benefit of current and future New Yorkers. Sunrise Wind is on a path to adding nearly a gigawatt of clean energy capacity to New York’s grid by the end of 2026, while creating jobs and new career paths, investing in local communities, diversifying the regional energy mix, and propelling the state toward its clean energy targets.”

Building on these awards and consistent with New York’s 10-Point Action Plan, NYSERDA expects to announce awards for Tier-1 land-based renewables projects in April 2024. New York’s 10-Point Action Plan serves to reinforce the State's dedication to clean energy development, sustainability, and economic growth and supports the State’s progress towards achieving the Climate Act goals, including obtaining 70 percent of the State's electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Public Service Commission Chair Rory M. Christian said, “I applaud Governor Hochul’s determined drive to ensure New York remains on track to meet its clean energy goals. Projects such as these will create the good-paying, clean energy jobs that we will need to support our economy long into the future.”

State Senator Kevin Parker said, “Today’s announcement shows New York’s commitment to furthering renewable energy projects despite unforeseen challenges. I commend the Governor for her leadership and am optimistic that New York State will continue to tackle climate change, achieve our climate goals and deliver critical benefits to New Yorkers.”

State Senator Pete Harckham said, “These projects represent the dawn of a new era of opportunity for New York, where clean energy projects will create thousands of good paying union jobs and power our homes and businesses with abundant clean energy while ridding our economy of planet-killing emissions.”

Assemblymember Didi Barrett said, “The announcement of these two rebidded offshore wind contracts illustrates New York’s commitment to keep us on pace to reach our 70% by 2030 goal. These two mature projects represent 10% of the power needed in downstate New York and should provide enough capacity to power one million New York homes, all while investing in our communities, creating good paying jobs, and supporting U.S. manufacturing and the New York Buy American Act.”

Assemblymember Deborah Glick said, “Shifting to clean, sustainable energy, like wind, is necessary to achieve New York’s climate goals. Empire Wind 1 and Sunrise Wind will not only bring in over 1,700 megawatts of clean energy, but these projects will create more than 800 sustaining jobs and create billions of dollars in economic development, proving that projects that save the environment can create jobs and grow New York’s economy. I applaud Governor Hochul’s leadership in advancing New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goals in this project and beyond.”

New York State Building Trades President Gary LaBarbera said, “As New York continues to pursue the goals set out by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, it is critical that we push forward large-scale offshore wind projects that boost our clean energy infrastructure and create thousands of good-paying union careers for hardworking New Yorkers. We applaud leadership in Albany and NYSERDA for pushing forward these initiatives off the shores of Long Island and Brooklyn that will propel us to our climate objectives, help usher in a new green economy, and uplift our underserved communities. Our tradesmen and tradeswomen look forward to playing a role in pushing these crucial projects forward and pursuing the family-sustaining careers and paths to the middle class they create.”

New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento said, “We are pleased that this award includes more stringent statutory labor standards because of legislation signed by the governor last year. This will ensure that New York’s clean energy future is built, operated, maintained, repaired, and manufactured by workers who earn good wages, and enjoy the benefits and protections guaranteed by union contracts.”

New York City Central Labor Council President Vincent Alvarez said, “The New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO applauds Governor Hochul and NYSERDA for the important progress announced today with the awarding of the largest power generation projects in New York State in over 35 years, and for their continued commitment to strong labor standards as we transition to a clean energy economy. The NYC Labor Movement looks forward to continuing to work together to ensure that as we invest in our renewable energy future, addressing climate change and helping achieve energy independence, we’re also creating good union jobs and building a strong and resilient economy for all New Yorkers.”

Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO President John Durso said, “The working people we represent are on the front lines of the climate crisis, and today is a good day on the front lines. Governor Hochul’s leadership expediting the solicitation process has kept New York State on track to achieve 9 GW by 2035 and delivered enhanced economic investments that are going to keep Long Islanders working."

Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau and Suffolk Counties President Matthew Aracich said, “I would like to thank Governor Hochul and NYSERDA for their leadership and hard work surrounding New York's fourth solicitation. The 800 family-sustaining Building Trades construction jobs that will be created as a result of this solicitation will truly move the economic needle here on Long Island. The opportunity provided by the offshore wind industry will allow the Building Trades to provide our pathway from community member to apprentice to journeyman for years to come; this pipeline provides a real path to the middle class for our local residents.”

Alliance for Clean Energy NY Interim Executive Director Deb Peck Kelleher said, “Today’s announcement is a win for all New Yorkers. When completed, these offshore wind projects will make a tangible impact in meeting our state’s climate and renewable energy goals. New Yorkers will breathe easier with clean electricity generation. As a growing industry, offshore wind will continue to be an integral part of our clean energy future.”

Long Island Association President & CEO Matt Cohen said, “The LIA applauds Governor Hochul and NYSERDA for advancing critical offshore wind projects, which will bring transformative economic and clean energy benefits to Long Island and New York State. The eyes of the country are on our region as we continue to be a leader in creating jobs and supply chain opportunities while simultaneously combating climate change in partnership with Ørsted and Equinor.”

New York Offshore Wind Alliance Director Fred Zalcman said, “The Hochul Administration's award of multiple advanced-stage OSW projects a huge win for New York's economy and environment, and firmly anchors New York as a critical hub in the manufacture of project components and port-side construction activity. With today's announcement, the state has deftly navigated the economic headwinds of the post-COVID global economy and has decisively put the US offshore wind industry on a firmer and more inclusive footing, while protecting consumer interests.”

New York League of Conservation Voters President Julie Tighe said, “The selection of Empire 1 and Sunrise Wind – two shovel-ready projects that will move forward this year – is not only a boon for the state’s clean energy portfolio, it will also jumpstart the domestic renewable energy supply chain while providing hundreds of well-paying construction jobs, making it a win-win for the environment and the economy. We applaud Governor Hochul for recognizing that there is no more urgent threat than climate change and no greater need than getting off of fossil fuels and delivering on the state's clean energy promises.”

Citizens Campaign for the Environment Executive Director Adrienne Esposito said, “The selection of Sunrise Wind and Empire Wind clearly signals that New York is committed to advancing offshore wind and continuing our renewable energy revolution. These two offshore wind projects are already well advanced in the regulatory and siting process which provides a time advantage that NY was wise to leverage. Continuing these projects is a smart economic decision that will provide local jobs, cleaner air and assists us in reaching our carbon reduction goals. This valuable announcement creates positive momentum for our energy transition and boldly states that NY is open for business for offshore wind implementation. Thank you to Governor Hochul’s leadership and the team at NYSERDA for their thorough, thoughtful expediated review. Together we are building a cleaner, greener New York.”

New York City Environmental Justice Alliance Executive Director Eddie Bautista said, “NYC-EJA is thrilled to see these offshore wind projects moving forward. These projects bring the opportunity to greatly modernize our port and energy infrastructure while cleaning the air we breathe. The re-industrialization of our waterfront, if done correctly, will employ our community members and it doesn’t have to be at the expense of our health. We look forward to playing an active part in the development and operation of these projects to ensure working class people within our neighborhood ultimately benefit from these investments.”

Center for Economic Growth President Mark Eagan said, “Today’s announcement signals New York State’s commitment to building a sustainable and robust market for offshore wind. CEG looks forward to continuing its partnerships with Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind to deliver community and economic benefits in the Capital Region.”

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) Chief Operating Officer Melissa Román Burch said, “NYSERDA’s selection of Equinor's Empire Wind 1 project in the state’s fourth offshore wind solicitation round moves us one step closer to transforming the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT) into one of the largest offshore wind port facilities in the nation and pave the way for meaningful job creation in the clean energy sector. We look forward to working with our partners in the private sector, as well as in state and city government, to continue to revitalize our waterfront infrastructure, build a clean energy future, and create jobs for all New Yorkers.”

Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director, UPROSE said, “UPROSE and the Sunset Park community have long fought to preserve the industrial character of New York City’s largest industrial waterfront. Offshore wind is an opportunity to center racial justice and operationalize a just transition by supporting the community-led vision for a green re-industrialization and creating thousands of well-paying local jobs. We are dedicated to ensuring the development and operation of these offshore wind projects model a true Just Transition and serve as an example for the nation. Environmental justice communities have been the reluctant hosts of polluting fossil fuel infrastructure for generations, and must be prioritized for clean energy investments in workforce development, local hiring, and community-ownership."

New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan

New York State's climate agenda calls for an orderly and just transition that creates family-sustaining jobs, continues to foster a green economy across all sectors and ensures that at least 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent, of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities. Guided by some of the nation’s most aggressive climate and clean energy initiatives, New York is advancing a suite of efforts – including the New York Cap-and-Invest program (NYCI) and other complementary policies – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels. New York is also on a path to achieving a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and economywide carbon neutrality by mid-century. A cornerstone of this transition is New York's unprecedented clean energy investments, including more than $40 billion in 64 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the State, $6.8 billion to reduce building emissions, $3.3 billion to scale up solar, nearly $3 billion for clean transportation initiatives and over $2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. These and other investments are supporting more than 170,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector as of 2022 and over 3,000 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, New York also adopted zero-emission vehicle regulations, including requiring all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold in the State be zero emission by 2035. Partnerships are continuing to advance New York’s climate action with more than 400 registered and more than 130 certified Climate Smart Communities, nearly 500 Clean Energy Communities, and the State’s largest community air monitoring initiative in 10 disadvantaged communities across the State to help target air pollution and combat climate change.