The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced plans to conduct an environmental review of the Empire Wind offshore windfarm off the coast of New York and New Jersey
On 18 June 2021, BOEM will publish a notice of intent (NOI) to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) on a construction and operations plan (COP) submitted by Empire Wind LLC.
Empire Wind is a joint project between Equinor and BP Empire Wind and is located in an area of 80,000 acres in federal waters, 32 km south of Long Island, east of the Rockaways.
If approved, Empire Wind would be allowed to construct and operate two wind energy facilities consisting of up to 174 turbines offshore New York and New Jersey, generating more than 2 GW of electricity.
BOEM noted that during development and construction, Empire Wind would generate an average of 880 jobs from 2019-2027, with a peak of almost 2,400 jobs in approximately 2025. During operations and maintenance, Empire Wind would support about 300 long-term jobs.
BOEM’s scoping process is intended to identify what should be considered in the EIS for each project.
Publication of the NOI opens a 30-day public comment period to help BOEM define the scope of the EIS. During this time, BOEM will hold virtual public scoping meetings. Public input obtained during the comment period will be used to inform the preparation of the EIS. The public comment period for the proposed project extends through 19 July 2021.
In addition to calling for up to 174 wind turbines, the Empire Wind COP calls for two offshore substations, two offshore electric cable routes, up to three export cable landfall sites, up to three onshore electric cable routes, and two onshore substations, providing connection to the existing electrical grid in New York.
If built, the two facilities would contribute to New York’s goal of securing 9 GW of offshore wind energy generation by 2035. In January 2021, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the Equinor projects had won the state’s latest offshore wind solicitation.
On 29 January 2021, BP and Equinor completed the formation of their offshore wind partnership, which included BP’s US$1.1Bn purchase from Equinor of a 50% interest in the lease areas off the US east coast.