Norway’s largest multinational oil and gas company, Statoil, plans to sign a power purchase agreement to develop an offshore wind power project off the New York coast, according to a senior company official.
Last December Statoil won a lease sale of 79,350 acres off the coast of New York with a bid of $42.5 million. Experts have said the space could be used to develop up to a 1 gigawatt capacity wind power park.
Stephen Bull, a Senior Vice President at the company, told Reuters, “Now we need to sign a power off-take agreement to develop the project. The counterpart would be one of New York’s utilities.” Later adding that they “expect to sign the agreement toward the end of 2018.”
The project has been christened ‘Empire Wind,’ with the launch of a website (empirewind.com) where the public can register to receive updates.
According to Statoil’s Empire Wind project director, Christer af Geijerstam, “The name Empire Wind captures the pivotal role that this important project will play in helping New York achieve its ambitious renewable energy goal [and it] speaks to the leading role that New York State is taking in advancing the deployment of offshore wind technology in North America.”
For now the project team is in the midst of an exhausting evaluation process, gathering detailed information about seabed conditions, grid connections options, and wind resources characteristic to the area.
Currently, Statoil supplies New York with natural gas from the Northern Marcellus shale play. The Norwegian giant sees the US as a vital component in the emerging offshore wind market- with potential for both bottom-fixed and floating turbines.
“We hope to have a new (floating wind power) project within the next three years” Bull said.
The company completed the world’s first floating wind power park off the coast of Scottland earlier this year and has seven other offshore wind projects either near completion or under development in Europe. Statoil is eyeing further opportunities in Japan, California, and Hawaii as sites for potential future projects.
Article written by HEI contributor Kevin Abbott.