Empire wind project is an 816MW offshore wind farm being developed offshore New York, US. It is expected to meet the power needs of more than half a million households in New York.
To be developed in two phases, the lease area of the project has a potential generation capacity of more than 2GW, which will power more than one million homes. The first phase involves the development of 816MW generating capacity.
Equinor is currently the sole owner of the Empire wind project and will remain the operator throughout the development, construction and operations phases. In September 2020, Equinor entered an agreement with BP to sell a 50% non-operated stake in the project under a $1.1bn deal that also includes a 50% interest in the Beacon wind project on the US east coast. The transaction is expected to be completed in early-2021, subject to regulatory approvals and other conditions.
The project is expected to generate approximately 800 local jobs during the construction and operation phases.
The federal offshore wind area was auctioned by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the commercial lease was signed by Equinor in 2017.
The first step of the project involved the development and submission of a Site Assessment Plan (SAP) to BOEM, which was completed in June 2018. The second step is the development of the Construction and Operations Plan (COP), describing the necessary activities for the construction, operation, and decommissioning of the project.
The Empire wind project won the New York State’s first large-scale competitive offshore wind solicitation in July 2019. It will contribute to the state’s renewable energy and climate goals of achieving 9,000MW of offshore wind by 2035.
Equinor obtained the lease rights for the project for $42.5m. The total investment in the wind farm project will be approximately $3bn. The construction of the project will be financed by private investors.
In October 2019, the company signed a power purchase agreement for the Empire project with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
The project is currently in the research and permitting phase, which is expected to take four to five years to complete. First power from the farm is anticipated by 2024 or 2025.
Empire wind will be situated in federal waters, approximately 32km south of Long Island, east of the Rockaways in New York and 22.5km away from Jones Beach State Park.
The project site spans 32,374ha in water depth ranging between 65ft and 131ft.
The first phase of Empire wind is expected to include 60 to 80 wind turbines, each with an installed capacity of 10MW to 15MW.
The offshore wind farm will incorporate gravity-based foundations to minimise the risks to marine wildlife. The foundations will be produced in the Capital Region at the Port of Coeymans.
The project will involve the installation and operation of two floating light detection and ranging buoys (FLiDARs), one subsurface current meter mooring, and one MetOcean buoy for the collection and analysis of meteorological data.
The final designs of the FLiDAR met and wave buoy mooring include a combination of rubber cords and chain from the buoy to the primary anchor weight. The rubber cords will absorb the tension and curtail any snatching action on the buoy and mooring.
A 66kV XLPE-insulated inter-array cable system will transmit power from the wind turbines. With a total length of 150km, the cables will transmit twice the current industry standard ensured by 33kV systems. The cable system is expected to be completed in 2022 for final installation by 2024.
The wind farm will be connected to the electricity grid at the Gowanus Substation in Brooklyn, New York. An operations and maintenance base will also be established in the area.
Tetra Tech prepared the site assessment plan for the project.
Equinor Wind contracted RPS Group for the transportation and deployment of the MetOcean facilities.
Prysmian Group will supply submarine inter-array cable system for the offshore wind project. The cable system will undergo fabrication at Prysmian’s facilities in France and Germany.