Statoil mulls offshore wind farm to serve New York City, Long Island

Hywind wind farm illustration. Image: Statoil

Norwegian oil major Statoil has won the rights to supply renewable offshore wind power to New York City and Long Island.

Statoil submitted a winning bid of $42.47 million during the online offshore wind auction concluded last week by the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

The move is the latest in a string of investments the offshore oil and gas specialist has made in renewable power generation. The state controlled company, which announced last week it will exit the oilsands, has stakes in operating and under construction offshore wind farms in the U.K. and Germany, including the world’s first floating offshore wind farm in Scotland to come online in 2017.

A late-comer to offshore wind power generation, the U.S. saw its first offshore wind farm go live only this month, when Deepwater Wind’s 30 MW project off Rhode Island began power delivery.

Also this week, Danish offshore wind energy giant DONG Energy announced it has partnered with New England transmission builder Eversource Energy in proposing a wind farm offshore Massachusetts, which could produce more than two gigawatts (GW). DONG Energy secured the rights to a 300 square mile area of ocean off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.

The State of New York projects that offshore wind will be a significant part of the renewable energy generation needed to meet its Clean Energy Standard in 2030.

Statoil’s lease comprises an area that could potentially accommodate more than one GW of offshore wind, with a phased development expected to start with 400-600 megawatts. The New York Wind Energy Area is located 30-60 kilometres offshore, spans 321 square kilometres and covers water depths between 20-40 metres.

In a press release, Statoil said it will next conduct studies to better understand the seabed conditions, the grid connection options and wind resources involved in the lease site.

“The U.S. is a key emerging market for offshore wind–both bottom-fixed and floating–with significant potential along both the east and west coasts,” said Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil’s executive vice-president for New Energy Solutions.

“As today’s announcement shows, Statoil is well positioned to take part in what could be a significant build out of offshore wind in New York and other states over the next decade. This effort is in line with the company’s strategy to gradually complement our oil and gas portfolio with viable renewable energy and other low-carbon solutions,” added Rummelhoff.

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