Norway’s Equinor clinches one of the largest ever renewable energy contracts in the U.S.

Energy News

Offices of energy company Equinor photographed in Norway on February 6, 2019.

Odin Jaeger | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Norway’s Equinor has been awarded a major contract to provide renewable energy to New York state from two huge offshore wind farms located in waters off the East Coast.

In an announcement Wednesday, the firm said it was the “largest-ever” offshore wind deal that had been awarded in the U.S. — and also “one of the largest renewable energy procurements in the U.S. to date.”

Under the terms of the deal, Equinor and its partner BP will provide New York with renewable energy from the Empire Wind 2 and Beacon Wind 1 projects.

The two firms will also work with New York to develop the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal and Port of Albany into what Equinor described as “large-scale offshore wind working industrial facilities.”

Last year, BP agreed to take 50% stakes in the Empire Wind and Beacon Wind projects from Equinor, in a deal set to close in the early part of 2021.

The Empire Wind 2 and Beacon Wind 1 developments will have a capacity of 1,260 and 1,230 megawatts (MW) respectively. The contract announced on Wednesday will supplement another agreement for energy from the 816 MW Empire Wind 1 project. Capacity refers to the maximum amount that installations can produce, not what they are currently generating.

When fully finished, Equinor says the overall Empire Wind and Beacon Wind projects will each be able to power over one million homes.

In a statement, Equinor’s CEO Anders Opedal described the East Coast of the United States as “one of the most attractive growth markets for offshore wind in the world.”

While it may have potential, the U.S. is still some way off matching other parts of the world when it comes to scale.

The country’s first offshore wind farm — the 30 MW, five-turbine Block Island Wind Farm, which is operated by Danish company Orsted — only started commercial operations at the end of 2016.

By comparison, Europe is home to a number of huge offshore wind projects. Last November, Orsted announced that the 752 MW Borssele 1 & 2 offshore facility was fully up and running, claiming it could provide enough electricity to power 1 million households.

In plans laid out toward the end of last year, the European Union said it wanted its offshore wind capacity to hit 300 gigawatts by the middle of the century.

While both Equinor and BP are attempting to develop more renewable energy projects, they remain major players in the oil and gas sector.

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