SPR Focusing on Offshore Wind Energy in the New York Bight

SPR is dedicated to the development of offshore wind energy off the coast of New York State. The Atlantic Ocean in this area (known as the New York Bight) presents a tremendous wind energy opportunity, given the area’s shallow depth and strong winds, the abundant electricity demand from New York City and Long Island, and New York State’s ambitious renewable energy commitments. Offshore wind energy will be a vital component toward fulfilling the State’s Clean Energy Standard, which mandates that by 2030, 50% of New York’s electricity must be generated from renewable sources. The State has taken several significant steps toward achieving this goal.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which has been coordinating various New York State agencies’ work in the development of offshore wind resources, has spearheaded the preparation of the New York State Offshore Wind Master Plan and its supporting studies. Published in January 2018, the Master Plan provides a comprehensive roadmap for New York to reach its goal of fostering the development of 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind energy – enough to power up to 1.2 million homes – by 2030. The Master Plan is the culmination of two years of analysis, outreach, and planning, and is supported by 20 studies that gather data on environmental, social, economic, regulatory, and infrastructure issues relevant to offshore wind energy.

In October 2017, using the information gathered in support of the Master Plan, New York State identified and submitted to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) an Area for Consideration. In that submission, New York State requested that the federal government open for offshore wind energy leasing certain areas that the State’s extensive data and analyses indicated were best suited for future offshore wind development. In response, BOEM published a Call for Information and Nominations regarding the potential for wind energy development in several locations in the New York Bight, including the areas identified by New York State. BOEM will use the information provided to determine whether to proceed with its offshore wind energy leasing process for areas south of Long Island.

In addition, in January 2018, the State announced that it will procure at least 800 megawatts of offshore wind energy between two solicitations in 2018 and 2019. In early 2018, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) also published a Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement for Procurement of Offshore Wind, analyzing the impact of the State’s procurement of 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030.

SPR is proud to be working with NYSERDA as it lays the groundwork for offshore wind energy for New York. Over the Firm’s 50-plus year history, we have guided some of New York’s largest and most complex infrastructure projects through the state and federal permitting processes, and have defended them against legal challenge. Representative projects include the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement, the Bayonne Bridge Navigational Clearance Program, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and Hudson River Park. We will continue to bring our expertise and passion for renewable energy to bear on the goal of developing a robust wind energy industry in the New York Bight.

For more information about SPR’s offshore wind or other renewable energy practice, please contact Dan Chorost, Elizabeth Knauer, Jeff Gracer, or Katherine Ghilain.