Governor Cuomo Executes the Nation's Largest Offshore Wind Agreement and Signs Historic Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act

July 18, 2019

From the office of Governor Cuomo

Vice President Al Gore Joins Governor Cuomo As New York Takes World-Leading Climate Actions

Nation's Largest Offshore Wind Project to Generate 1,700 Megawatts - Enough Energy to Power over 1 Million Homes

Offshore Wind Agreement to Create More Than 1,600 Jobs and Result in $3.2 Billion of Economic Activity

Sets NY on Path to Achieve a Carbon Free Electricity System by 2040 and 85% Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, joined by former Vice President Al Gore, today executed the nation's largest offshore wind agreement and the single largest renewable energy procurement by any state in U.S. history - nearly 1,700 megawatts -with the selection of two offshore wind projects, that will create enough energy to power over 1 million homes, create more than 1,600 jobs, and result in $3.2 billion in economic activity. Governor Cuomo also signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, or CLCPA, which adopts the most ambitious and comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation in the country. Today's announcement underscores New York's undisputed position as a global leader in climate and clean energy, and advances Governor Cuomo's nation-leading mandate of 9,000 megawatts by 2035. Additionally, today's offshore wind announcement is expected to catalyze the first generation of major United States supply chain investments by the fast-growing offshore wind sector, positioning New York to be the hub of the nation's burgeoning offshore wind industry.

"The environment and climate change are the most critically important policy priorities we face," Governor Cuomo said. "They literally will determine the future - or the lack thereof. Even in today's chaos of political pandering and hyperbole there are still facts, data and evidence - and climate change is an undeniable scientific fact. But cries for a new green movement are hollow political rhetoric if not combined with aggressive goals and a realistic plan on how to achieve them. With this agreement, New York will lead the way in developing the largest source of offshore wind power in the nation, and today I will sign the most aggressive climate law in the United States of America. Today we are true to the New York legacy - to lead the way forward, to govern with vision and intelligence, to set a new standard, and to match our words with action." 

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, "Climate change is real and must be addressed to better protect future generations. As Washington fails to act, New York State must step up to lead on this critical issue. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act will help combat the damages caused by climate change, reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions, focus investments on green technology, protect disadvantaged communities, and ensure that workers are protected and good jobs are created as we transition to greener energy sources. I commend Senator Todd Kaminsky for sponsoring this bill, holding hearings throughout the state, and for his leadership in the fight against climate change."

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, "For years the Assembly Majority has fought for comprehensive legislation to address and mitigate climate change. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Steve Englebright and our Assembly Majority colleagues, New York State is leading the way in developing green energy alternatives and sustainable policies. While the administration in Washington rolls back environmental protections, we will continue fighting to protect our environment, economy and the well-being of New Yorkers from the damaging effects of climate change."

Nation's Largest Offshore Wind Agreement

To jump-start progress towards New York's unprecedented clean energy goals, which includes 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035, today Governor Cuomo announced the winners of New York's first comprehensive offshore wind solicitation: the Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind development projects of Equinor US Holdings, Inc. and Bay State Wind LLC, a joint venture of Ørsted A/S and Eversource Energy, respectively. Combined, both projects will total 1,700 megawatts, enough to power more than one million New York homes and support more than 1,600 jobs with a combined economy activity of $3.2 billion statewide.  As of today, New York has awarded a total of approximately 4,700 megawatts of new large-scale renewable energy contracts since March 2018 through three separate solicitations, a globally significant advancement in renewable energy in just two years. Collectively, these projects will provide enough renewable energy to power up to two million households and meet nearly 10% of New York's electricity needs by 2025.

The project developers have committed to make additional investments in manufacturing and port infrastructure, on top of the commitments in Governor Cuomo's 2019 State of the State address. A total of $287 million will be invested in cutting-edge infrastructure in multiple regions of the state, including the Capital Region, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Long Island. These financial commitments will unlock private supply chain capital and maximize the long-term economic benefits to the state from the regional development of offshore wind.

Reaching 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind is expected to create more than 10,000 jobs. The state is also taking new steps to support workforce development in partnership with the private sector, including establishing a New York State Advisory Council on Offshore Wind Economic and Workforce Development, a new $20 million Offshore Wind Training Institute (OWTI) and a $3 million Community and Workforce Benefits Fund (CWB Fund) to establish the institutional infrastructure to educate, train and employ New Yorkers. Offshore wind will utilize many of the same labor trades that have driven New York's infrastructure and economy for the past several decades. These investments will particularly benefit New York's low-income and environmental justice communities, critical outcomes of the CLCPA and Governor Cuomo's commitment to a just transition to clean power.

The results of this historic procurement mark an important new chapter in New York's nation-leading offshore wind planning efforts, which have been conducted for more than three years and have included comprehensive and extensive stakeholder, agency and public consultation, along with detailed technical and financial analysis. These projects have received significant support from state and local elected officials and stakeholder groups, including conservation organizations, labor advocates, academic institutions, the maritime industry and more. In particular, New York's approach requires developers to adapt their project plans through discussions with commercial fishermen and environmental organizations and in accordance with evolving best practices.

Historic Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act

The CLCPA requires the State to achieve a carbon free electricity system by 2040 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85% below 1990 levels by 2050, setting a new standard for states and the nation to expedite the transition to a clean energy economy. The new law will drive investment in clean energy solutions such as wind, solar, energy efficiency and energy storage. Importantly, implementation of the CLCPA will target investments to benefit disadvantaged communities, create tens of thousands of new jobs, improve public health and quality of life and provide all New Yorkers with more robust clean energy choices.

Highlights of the new law include:

Putting New York on Road to Economy-Wide Carbon Neutrality: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will, through the adoption of regulations, drive an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, with an interim mandate of 40% reduction in emissions by 2030 (both relative to 1990 levels). The Climate Action Council will develop a plan to offset remaining emissions through carbon capture or other technologies, resulting in a carbon-neutral economy.

70% Renewable Energy by 2030 and Zero-Carbon Emission Electric Sector by 2040: The CLCPA codifies Governor Cuomo's nation-leading goals as called for under his Green New Deal, mandating that at least 70% of New York's electricity come from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar by 2030, and that the state's power system is 100% carbon neutral by 2040. 

Nation-Leading Clean Energy Investments: The CLCPA also codifies Governor Cuomo's nation-leading commitments to install 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035; 6,000 megawatts of distributed solar by 2025; and 3,000 megawatts of energy storage by 2030.

Climate Action Council and Policy Roadmap: Expert heads of relevant state agencies and legislative appointees will craft the roadmap of policies needed to achieve the law's mandates. The Council, co-chaired by the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA) and DEC will establish sector specific working groups to make sure experts and stakeholders inform all policies developed under the CLCPA. Planned working groups include a just transition working group, as well as working groups on transportation, agriculture, energy-intensive and trade-exposed industries, land use and energy efficiency.  

Landmark Investments in Environmental Justice and Just Transition: Relevant state agencies will invest 35% of clean energy program resources to benefit disadvantaged communities, and will aim to invest 40%. Additionally, the just transition working group will work to ensure that individuals working in conventional energy industries are provided with training and opportunities in the growing clean energy economy.

Senator Todd Kaminsky said, "Today's announcements continue to show that New York is leading the way toward a green economy. The CLCPA sets the most aggressive green energy goals in the country and the 1,700 megawatt wind power awarded is a major step to fulfill them. While Washington is asleep at the wheel, now is the moment for bold, global change."

Assembly Member Steve Englebright said, "Climate change is one of the most important issues we face, and preventing and mitigating its impacts has long been a top priority for me and my Assembly colleagues. I'm pleased that this legislation involves such a comprehensive and proactive approach - requiring lower emissions and encouraging the development of new technologies and job opportunities. New York has always been an environmental leader and this legislation as well as the offshore wind project provides the latest evidence."

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, "Governor Cuomo's unprecedented commitment to fighting climate change has fundamentally reshaped the trajectory of the climate and energy conversation in the United States, and with today's announcements the Governor has made clear that New York will not waste any time advancing towards our globally-ambitious goals. At nearly 1,700 megawatts, the selection of Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind under NYSERDA's inaugural offshore wind procurement is nothing short of a watershed moment for the development of large-scale offshore wind in the United States, and by bringing thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity, these projects will also secure New York's status as the U.S. hub for this industry."

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "New York's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act sets the gold standard for state-led action on climate. To achieve the state's nation-leading goals and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ramp up renewable energy sources, New York must tap into our state's offshore wind energy potential. And to ensure wind energy development is sited responsibly, DEC worked closely with key stakeholders and partners, including the commercial fishing industry, to safeguard sensitive offshore habitats. Today's announcement is further proof that through the CLCPA and our ongoing clean energy initiatives, New York is leading the nation's efforts to act on climate while protecting our communities and our irreplaceable natural resources."

Public Service Commission Chair John B. Rhodes said, "The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act sets the course for 100 percent clean and carbon-neutral energy by 2040. Offshore wind will play a prominent role in achieving this outcome. This new investment in nearly 1,700 MW of offshore wind positions New York as the clear national leader in developing this new industry, in creating good-paying new jobs, and in bringing this clean new technology on line."

Roberta Reardon, Commissioner, New York State Department of Labor said, "Workforce development and training are essential components to making sure that we are ready for this exciting expanded use of offshore wind energy, which ensure that New York State's energy mix is viable and affordable now and into the future. The NYS Department of Labor is thrilled to be playing a role in setting us well on our way to a cleaner, healthier New York."

New York State Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "This smart, effective measure shows the rest of the nation how it's done. We can - and will - protect the environment, address climate change and dramatically improve the energy landscape through sensible policymaking. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act seeks to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions while the federal government rolls back environmental protections. The new offshore wind projects promise to bring a cleaner environment and thousands of good jobs to the Hudson Valley and Long Island. These are the latest examples of Governor Cuomo's commitment to sustaining communities across New York with a bold environmental, energy and economic development agenda."

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "Clean energy is a vital component of New York's economic future and these historic actions will generate billions of dollars of investment, thousands of new, green jobs and a cleaner, greener New York."

SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson said, "Meeting our important and legislated goals of 100% renewables by 2040 will require a well-educated, highly skilled and ready workforce. The State University of New York is honored to partner with Governor Cuomo to provide the educational and research opportunities for our talented students and faculty to make off-shore wind a reality at our SUNY campuses."

Selected Projects

NYSERDA has selected these proposals for contract negotiation through a rigorous and competitive process according to the price offered by the proposer, New York State economic benefits and project viability. The selected projects offered prices approximately 40% less than expected compared to analysis completed in early 2018. Following execution of the contracts, NYSERDA will release contract details, including price and other relevant metrics. 

Empire Wind 816-Megawatt Project

The 816-megawatt Empire Wind project by Equinor channels the many unique capabilities of the Empire State. Supplying renewable power from the New York Bight to New York City, where demand is highest, this project proposal is expected to yield more than 800 local jobs and a foothold gravity-based foundation fabrication facility at the Port of Coeymans in the Capital Region that will supply this and future regional offshore wind projects. The project is expected to bring significant and long-term New York State jobs and economic benefits, including using South Brooklyn as its operations and maintenance base, providing consistent high-quality jobs to the community located near the project's proposed interconnection point at Con Edison's Gowanus substation. Port upgrades and sourcing of key components are expected to commence as early as spring 2021. The construction of the Empire Wind project is anticipated to begin in 2022 and the project is scheduled to enter commercial operation in December of 2024.

Christer Geijerstam, President, Equinor Wind US, said, "Honestly, Governor Cuomo's offshore wind announcement feels like a dream come true. Since we won our lease area three years ago, we've focused on one challenge: what's the best possible project we can build for New Yorkers. Now, we have the unique chance to use our offshore experience and expertise to create a powerful and profitable new industry together with the state of New York, local communities and U.S. industry."

Sunrise Wind 880-Megawatt Project

The 880-megawatt Sunrise Wind project is a strategic partnership of global offshore wind leader Ørsted and Eversource Energy and is supported by Con Edison Transmission and the New York Power Authority, who will support the development of the project's transmission facilities. The Sunrise Wind project proposal commits to leverage Ørsted's and Eversource's strong presence in the northeast to co-locate its North American Operations Headquarters and a regional operations and maintenance hub in Port Jefferson, Long Island, which will be capable of supporting the Sunrise Wind project and affiliated U.S. projects. The Sunrise Wind project is expected to support over 800 local jobs, leverage the Capital Region's port facilities to support steel component fabrication for the turbine foundations, and provide financial and technical support for a number of regional institutions and entities to support research and education and help advance responsible development of offshore wind energy. The project's planned interconnection point is the Holbrook and West-Bus substations in the town of Brookhaven within the Long Island Power Authority's (LIPA) service territory. The Sunrise Wind project is expected to start construction in 2022 and will commence commercial operation in May of 2024. 

Thomas Brostrøm, President of Ørsted North America and CEO of Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind said, "We are thrilled that the Sunrise Wind project has been selected in New York's inaugural offshore wind solicitation, and we want to thank Governor Cuomo's administration and NYSERDA for the thorough and thoughtful evaluation of our proposal. At Ørsted, we believe that it's time to take real action to create a world that runs on green energy and we need to act now to reduce the effects of climate change. Governor Cuomo's energy agenda and ambitious commitment to offshore wind is the best example of how New York shares those values."

Lee Olivier, Executive Vice President of Enterprise Energy Strategy at Eversource said, "We believe that Sunrise Wind has the best site and is the best team to deliver results for New York, which is critical as Governor Cuomo sets a national precedent with the goal of creating 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind capacity for New York by 2035. The Sunrise Wind project's promise is to supply clean energy to thousands of homes, garner economic development and investment for the state's economy, and create hundreds of permanent full-time jobs. Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, New York is leading the way to grow the offshore wind industry and combat climate change, and we're excited be a part of that future."

Senator Kevin Parker said, "At a time when the federal government is denying climate change and turning a blind eye to its perilous consequences, New York is leading the way toward clean energy and protecting our environment. This agreement for offshore wind projects, combined with the historic Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, will not only help create a cleaner environment, it will spur economic growth across the entire state. I thank Governor Cuomo and my partners in the Senate for making these bold reforms a reality for our state."

Assembly Member Michael Cusick said, Today's announcement represents a paradigm shift in how New York manages its energy system, from the production of zero-emission electricity to the monumental reduction in our carbon footprint across the entire economy that is now required by law. Today, after years of work, is a significant inflection point for the entire clean energy movement. I expect to see many states follow our lead and hope the federal government is watching. It is fitting that New York, the home of the original large scale, metropolitan electrical system, is now leading the nation in the development of offshore wind assets and the clean economy more broadly. Today's offshore wind announcement ensures New Yorkers will remain at the forefront of the green economy, reaping benefits in employment opportunities as well as the ancillary effects of a cleaner environment. Importantly, as we have seen in recent weeks, system reliability is a non-negotiable for electricity customers everywhere, and especially in New York. The energy produced off our shores will support our grid's reliability and give New Yorkers the peace of mind that as they continue to drive the nation's economy and support their families they can trust that the lights will remain on."

Joe Martens, Director, New York Offshore Wind Alliance, said, "The Governor's offshore wind announcement is an epic milestone in New York tradition of environmental leadership," said New York Offshore Wind Alliance Director Joe Martens, "New York State has moved quickly and deliberately in its quest to transition to clean, renewable energy and today's announcement demonstrates the state's resolve to take advantage of the steady winds far off its coast to reduce air pollution, create jobs and establish New York as the epicenter of a new American industry."

Kevin S. Law, President & CEO of the Long Island Association said, "Today's announcement demonstrates a continued commitment by Governor Cuomo and the state to lead the nation in developing a clean energy economy. The projects approved today and those still under consideration will help make Long Island the offshore wind capital of the country and will create good paying jobs and attract billions of dollars of investment in our region."

John R. Durso, President of the Long Island Federation of Labor said, "The planet received good news about public policy taken by the State of New York. Governor Cuomo's first large procurement of offshore wind power is a major step forward in the fight against climate change and an opportunity to develop an emerging industry. It is particularly significant for Long Island whose workforce is ready to meet the challenges ahead."

Matt Aracich, President, Building Trades Council of Nassau and Suffolk County said, "With advancements in climate preservation technology and an aggressive policy focused on renewable energy comes a new job market accessible to working class New Yorkers. The Building Trades Council is proud of NYSERDA's initiative to tackle climate change while still considering the standards and careers of the hard working men and women in labor. Programs such as the offshore wind development will significantly benefit our region while providing sustainable, green jobs for years to come."

Ed Murphy, Executive Director, Workforce Development Institute said, "New York is taking another major step toward protecting our environment and creating good jobs." says Ed Murphy Director of the Workforce Development Institute (WDI). Our research shows there will be thousands of New Yorkers working across over 74 occupations to plan, build, install and maintain turbines off the coast of New York. WDI will continue our work with the Governor, Legislature, NYSERDA, labor unions and businesses, to support jobs in the offshore wind industry."

Andrew Kennedy, President and CEO, Center for Economic Growth said, "Offshore wind will be transformational for the upstate economy. With today's announcement, the Capital Region stands ready to support the offshore wind industry given our strengths include the Ports of Albany and Coeymans, a robust manufacturing sector, unmatched academic R&D assets, and a ready and able workforce. The Capital Region looks forward to working with this industry to meet their needs to house fabrication operations, space to stage and transport foundations, substations and wind turbine generators."

Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters, said, "We applaud Governor Cuomo's offshore wind announcement today - a major step towards reaching the State's nation-leading goals of 9,000 megawatts of wind power by 2035 and carbon-free electricity by 2040. The enthusiastic response to NYSERDA's offshore wind RFP shows that there is historic interest in developing these projects and increasing the pace of siting wind energy. We look forward to working with stakeholders to ensure these projects and others like it moves forward as quickly as practicable."

Stuart F. Gruskin, New York Chief Conservation and External Affairs Officer for The Nature Conservancy, said, "Today's announcement solidifies New York's position as a national leader in the fight to tackle climate change and secure a sustainable future for our planet and people. The Nature Conservancy applauds Governor Cuomo putting New York on a path to become the nation's largest producer of offshore wind energy. We appreciate the state's approach to offshore wind development, which balances the need to stop global warming alongside the need to protect our critical marine life and the people and industries that depend on our ocean. Thanks to leadership from the Governor, New York stands as the national example of how to fight climate change and create a safer world for future generations." 

Collin O'Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation said, "Today's historic offshore wind commitment by Governor Cuomo epitomizes the bold leadership that America needs more than ever to confront the climate crisis and create well-paying manufacturing and construction jobs. Thank you to Governor Cuomo for his visionary leadership and the hard work of New York State officials to accelerate the construction of responsibly developed clean offshore wind power. We congratulate the offshore wind industry and all our partners, as we look forward to continuing our work together to ensure all projects built to power the Empire State provide maximum benefits to our local communities and protect coastal and marine wildlife every step of the way."

New York State's Green New Deal   

Governor Cuomo's Green New Deal is the most aggressive climate change program in the nation and puts the state on a path to being entirely carbon-neutral across all sectors of the economy, including power generation, transportation, buildings, industry and agriculture. The Governor's program also establishes a goal to achieve a zero-carbon emissions electricity sector by 2040, faster than any state in the nation. The recently passed Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act mandates several of the Governor's ambitious Green New Deal clean energy targets: installing nine gigawatts of offshore wind by 2035; six gigawatts of distributed solar by 2025 and three gigawatts of energy storage by 2030. The CLCPA also calls for an orderly and just transition to clean energy, creating jobs while spurring a green economy. It builds on New York's unprecedented ramp-up of clean energy including a $2.9 billion investment in 46 large-scale renewable projects across the state, the creation of more than 150,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector and 1,700% growth in the distributed solar sector since 2012. The CLCPA also directs New York State's agencies and authorities to work collaboratively with stakeholders to develop a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85% from 1990 levels by 2050, and to work toward a goal of investing 40% of clean energy and energy efficiency resources to benefit disadvantaged communities. 

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