An illustration of a wind turbine installation vessel for the Empire Wind...

An illustration of a wind turbine installation vessel for the Empire Wind projects. Credit: Maersk Supply Service

New York State gave final approval Thursday to construction of an offshore wind farm 14 miles off the Long Island coast, clearing the way for a project that’s expected to begin bringing power to the New York City electric grid by late 2026.

The state Public Service Commission approved a certificate that will allow developer Equinor to begin construction this month, which includes building infrastructure on land, to bring power from the 54-turbine array to a Con Edison connection in Brooklyn, including high-voltage power lines in New York waters 3 miles from shore. The state says the energy would power more than 388,000 homes.

The 810-megawatt array received approval of its construction and operations plan from the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in February, paving the way for a project that’s expected to be one of the most visible among more than a dozen planned for the East Coast in coming decades.

PSC chairman Rory Christian, in a prepared statement, said commission approval this month was “critical” to help keep the project’s construction schedule “on track” to bring the renewable power to the grid as the state begins winding down fossil-fuel power plants.

The move comes amid continued opposition from thousands of residents in and around Long Beach who also expressed opposition to a second project called Empire Wind 2 that was to make landfall in that city. The company has since put the project on hold as it and other developers review changing market costs and higher interest rates.

David Schoetz, a spokesman for Equinor, said the company began preconstruction work at its South Brooklyn Marine Terminal site earlier this month, “getting the site ready for full construction.” Local residents have been told pile driving will begin in the area, he said.

It’s unclear when full offshore work will start, however, including construction vessels building foundations 14 miles from Long Island beaches and driving monopiles into the sea bed.

The 54 turbines that will make up the Empire array will be 886 feet high to the tip of the turbine blades, and each turbine is rated at 15 megawatts. Shoetz said the company remains in negotiations with the state over a final power supply agreement.

The state has said Empire Wind 1 and another project, Sunrise Wind, will increase average customer bills across the state by a combined $2.09 a month. Empire Wind expects the project to create about 1,000 construction-related jobs.

A Long Beach-based group calling itself Protect Our Coast-Long Island, New York on Thursday said the latest Empire contract will burden ratepayers with high costs while bringing big financial gains to Norway-based Equinor.

Equinor earlier this year participated in a new bidding process for the Empire project that will allow it to adjust the price of energy upward with shifting market costs and interest rates.

The Empire array would be New York’s second, after LIPA and developers Orsted, of Denmark, and Eversource earlier this year completed the South Fork Wind Farm, which brings its power to the LIPA grid in East Hampton. South Fork is the nation’s first utility-scale, federally permitted wind farm, bringing upward of 130 megawatts of power to around 70,000 homes on the South Fork. That project has a price tag of just over $2 billion, according to state comptroller

New York State and the wind-farm developers have declined to release similar all-in costs for Empire Wind or Sunrise Wind.

New York State gave final approval Thursday to construction of an offshore wind farm 14 miles off the Long Island coast, clearing the way for a project that’s expected to begin bringing power to the New York City electric grid by late 2026.

The state Public Service Commission approved a certificate that will allow developer Equinor to begin construction this month, which includes building infrastructure on land, to bring power from the 54-turbine array to a Con Edison connection in Brooklyn, including high-voltage power lines in New York waters 3 miles from shore. The state says the energy would power more than 388,000 homes.

The 810-megawatt array received approval of its construction and operations plan from the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in February, paving the way for a project that’s expected to be one of the most visible among more than a dozen planned for the East Coast in coming decades.

PSC chairman Rory Christian, in a prepared statement, said commission approval this month was “critical” to help keep the project’s construction schedule “on track” to bring the renewable power to the grid as the state begins winding down fossil-fuel power plants.

The move comes amid continued opposition from thousands of residents in and around Long Beach who also expressed opposition to a second project called Empire Wind 2 that was to make landfall in that city. The company has since put the project on hold as it and other developers review changing market costs and higher interest rates.

David Schoetz, a spokesman for Equinor, said the company began preconstruction work at its South Brooklyn Marine Terminal site earlier this month, “getting the site ready for full construction.” Local residents have been told pile driving will begin in the area, he said.

It’s unclear when full offshore work will start, however, including construction vessels building foundations 14 miles from Long Island beaches and driving monopiles into the sea bed.

The 54 turbines that will make up the Empire array will be 886 feet high to the tip of the turbine blades, and each turbine is rated at 15 megawatts. Shoetz said the company remains in negotiations with the state over a final power supply agreement.

The state has said Empire Wind 1 and another project, Sunrise Wind, will increase average customer bills across the state by a combined $2.09 a month. Empire Wind expects the project to create about 1,000 construction-related jobs.

A Long Beach-based group calling itself Protect Our Coast-Long Island, New York on Thursday said the latest Empire contract will burden ratepayers with high costs while bringing big financial gains to Norway-based Equinor.

Equinor earlier this year participated in a new bidding process for the Empire project that will allow it to adjust the price of energy upward with shifting market costs and interest rates.

The Empire array would be New York’s second, after LIPA and developers Orsted, of Denmark, and Eversource earlier this year completed the South Fork Wind Farm, which brings its power to the LIPA grid in East Hampton. South Fork is the nation’s first utility-scale, federally permitted wind farm, bringing upward of 130 megawatts of power to around 70,000 homes on the South Fork. That project has a price tag of just over $2 billion, according to state comptroller

New York State and the wind-farm developers have declined to release similar all-in costs for Empire Wind or Sunrise Wind.

Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland. The conversation continues on newsday.com/nextli where we invite Long Islanders to share their experiences on this looming crisis of changing weather patterns, flooding, shoreline protection, home buyouts and more to find potential solutions for the region’s future.

Paying the Price: Long Island's stormy future Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland.

Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland. The conversation continues on newsday.com/nextli where we invite Long Islanders to share their experiences on this looming crisis of changing weather patterns, flooding, shoreline protection, home buyouts and more to find potential solutions for the region’s future.

Paying the Price: Long Island's stormy future Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland.

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