Offshore wind energy could become a major source of affordable, renewable power for New York State, especially in the New York City metropolitan area and Long Island, where electricity prices are higher than elsewhere in the State. Generating electricity with wind turbines located in the Atlantic Ocean could provide up to 39 gigawatts (GW) of clean power for the State, enough to power 15 million homes.
Energy from offshore wind generates clean electricity, does not emit greenhouse gases, and comes from a renewable, domestic source. In addition, offshore wind will bring substantial investment and jobs to New York’s waterfront and the ports that support the construction and maintenance of offshore wind farms.
Offshore wind turbines are similar to land-based wind turbines, but they are typically larger and generate more power.
Offshore Wind in New York State
In New York State, wind turbines are currently only on land, though offshore wind turbines have been operating continuously in Europe since 1991. Seeking to create a 21st century energy system, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo called for the development of an offshore wind strategy in the 2016 State of the State address. Known as the Master Plan, New York’s offshore wind strategy will provide a comprehensive roadmap to advance offshore wind in a manner that is sensitive to environmental, maritime and social issues while addressing market barriers and lowering costs.
The Plan envisions NYSERDA conducting pre-development assessments, studies and surveys, and in-depth analysis of field data with the goal of reducing and mitigating risks of offshore wind development. Reduced uncertainty leads to lower development and energy costs. By NYSERDA conducting pre-development assessments in collaboration with State stakeholders, local environmental and economic interests will be better protected.
Clean Energy Standard
NYSERDA seeks to bolster the development of both distributed and large-scale renewable energy resources, like offshore wind, to meet New York State's Clean Energy Standard. This ambitious policy mandates 50 percent of all electricity consumed in the State by 2030 comes from renewable energy sources. Offshore wind will work together with land-based wind farms, and other renewable energy technologies like solar, to create a cleaner energy system across the State.
To date most of New York’s renewable energy projects have been built upstate. Offshore wind presents an opportunity for renewable energy development downstate, where energy investment could provide the most value, since New York City and Long Island account for more than 45 percent of the State’s annual electricity usage. With offshore wind, this high demand area can help New York State meet the renewables mandate of the Clean Energy Standard.