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Four bidders propose offshore wind farms for New York

The bids call for up to 1,200 megawatts of wind energy from arrays as near as 14 miles from Long Island to as far away as 85 miles.

In this Aug. 15, 2016, file photo, three

In this Aug. 15, 2016, file photo, three wind turbines from the Deepwater Wind project stand off Block Island, R.I. One of the five developers who intend to vie for a New York State contract for off-shore wind energy is proposing a project off Long Island. The rest would be off Massachusetts/Rhode Island or the New Jersey coast, according to recent state filings. Photo Credit: AP/Michael Dwyer

Plans to begin displacing power from some of Long Island’s largest fossil-fuel plants moved a step closer to reality this week as four developers submitted 18 separate bids for a state request for proposals for offshore wind energy.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which is administering the bidding process, received bids for up to 1,200 megawatts of wind energy from arrays as near as 14 miles from Long Island to as far away as 85 miles. Bids were due on Valentine’s Day and the winning ones could be announced in the spring, NYSERDA said. A megawatt of offshore wind energy can power more than 360 homes.

LIPA previously has awarded two contracts for up to 130 megawatts of wind power from an array off the Rhode Island coast operated by Danish energy conglomerate, Orsted, and its new Connecticut-based partner, Eversource. LIPA officials have also said that the Long Island grid could use up to 400 megawatts of additional offshore wind to meet aggressive state goals for green energy by 2030.

The state has sought 800 megawatts of wind-energy but allowed that the bids could be higher or lower. Another bid request by the state is expected next year and much more in the future as New York seeks up to 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2035.

Among new proposals for the state bid is a project called Liberty Wind by Vineyard Wind and Anbaric Development Partners that would be located about 85 miles from the nearest New York shore, a spokeswoman said. The project can be 400 megawatts, 800 megawatts or up to 1,200 megawatts. Liberty Wind would make the components for the project in the Albany area and ship them down the Hudson River and eventually to a work site off the Massachusetts coast in the Atlantic.

Vineyard Wind is owned by Denmark-based Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewables of Portland, Oregon. Anbaric is 40 percent owned by the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan.

All the plans would require hundreds of turbines over 500 feet tall with undersea cables to the mainland in areas some commercial fishermen say would limit access to fishing grounds. The developers, and New York State, have vowed to work with the fishermen to minimize impacts.

Equinor Wind US, formerly Statoil, the Norwegian energy conglomerate, is proposing a project called Empire Wind 14 to 35 miles off Long Island. The company’s release offered few specific details about the project, saying only that its 80,000-acre lease in the waters off New York has the capacity for up to 2,000 megawatts of wind energy.

In a statement, Equinor said New York’s “strong maritime workforce and port infrastructure assets will also play an important role in the growth of the industry,” adding its Empire Wind project will generate about $1 billion in savings from reduced wholesale energy costs in New York.

Orsted, which last year acquired Deepwater Wind, is teaming up with Connecticut-based energy giant Eversource to offer a project called Sunrise Wind that will be located in the waters off Massachusetts/Rhode Island, more than 30 miles from Montauk Point.

Also, in the mix is the Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind Project, a joint venture of EDF Renewables North America and Shell New Energies US in a federal wind-energy area off New Jersey.

Another bidder, Mayflower Wind Energy, which had earlier indicated an interest in the New York request for proposals, did not submit a bid, according to information provided by NYSERDA.

A NYSERDA spokeswoman called the response to the bids “historic.”

“Today’s record response provides the robust competition needed to responsibly develop offshore wind for New Yorkers while spurring billions in private sector investment in New York, creating thousands of jobs and putting the state on a path to a carbon-neutral future,” the spokeswoman said.

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