Equinor, the Norwegian energy conglomerate that has a contract with New York State to build and operate a wind farm off Long Island, on Thursday said it sold a 50% stake in the project to BP, the energy giant formerly known as British Petroleum.
Equinor said the transaction also includes the sale of a 50% stake in another project, Beacon Wind in Massachusetts, to BP, for a total price of $1.1 billion. The deal is expected to close early next year.
Equinor, formerly known as Statoil, said it will remain the operator of both projects through development, construction and operation phases. The deal marks BP's entry into offshore wind.
Equinor last year was awarded a contract with New York State to build Empire Wind, an 816-megawatt project 15 to 30 miles off Jones Beach to feed into the New York electric grid in Brooklyn by 2024. Equinor won the federal lease for 80,000 acres of federal waters in an area known as the New York Bight in 2017. The wind farm will involve from 60 to 80 turbines over 600 feet high that will be visible from shore.
Equinor said it eventually expects to be able to install some 2 gigawatts of power in those waters.
The move isn’t BP’s first foray into renewable energy, or the Long Island power scene. In 2011, BP Solar was a partner in a project to install 164,312 BP-made solar panels at Brookhaven National Laboratory, one of the largest solar installations of its kind at the time. BP subsequently exited the solar-panel making business and sold its interest in the 32-megawatt project to partner MetLife. The solar farm continues to produce power.
Equinor wouldn’t be the first wind giant to partner on a U.S. project. Danish wind-energy giant Orsted is partnering with New England energy giant Eversource for its wind-energy projects in the Northeast, including two planned Long Island projects — the South Fork Wind Farm for LIPA and Sunrise Wind for New York State, and its Block Island Wind Farm, the first off-shore farm in the U.S.