New York has named Equinor’s Empire Wind 1 and Sunrise Wind, co-owned by Ørsted and Eversource Energy, as conditional winners of the state’s fourth offshore wind solicitation.

The awards announced Feb. 29 bolster an industry that has been challenged by inflation, supply chain difficulties and higher interest rates. The solicitation offered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) allowed companies, including Equinor and Ørsted, an opportunity to get out of their old contracts and enter new ones to lock in better prices.

“The weighted average all-in development cost of the awarded offshore wind projects over the life of the contracts is $150.15 per megawatt-hour, which is on-par with the latest market prices,” NYSERDA said in a news release.

The 3.3-gigawatt (GW) Community Offshore Wind 2 project, a joint venture between RWE Renewables and National Grid, was waitlisted and may be considered for award and contract negotiation later, NYSERDA said.

Together, Empire Wind 1 and Sunrise Wind will account for about $2 billion in economic development investments, bringing more than 1.7 GW of clean energy to New York. The state is striving to develop 9 GW of offshore wind energy by 2035.

Equinor’s planned Empire Wind 1 project will have an 810-megawatt (MW) capacity, while Ørsted and Eversource’s will have a 924-MW capacity.

“I promised to make New York a place for the renewable energy industry to do business, and we are delivering on that promise,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement. “Offshore wind is foundational to our fight against climate change, and these awards demonstrate our national leadership to advance a zero-emissions electric grid at the best value to New Yorkers.”

The awards are conditional on successful contract execution, which is expected in second-quarter 2024.

Equinor said the award marks a major step toward developing a project capable of powering about 500,000 homes. The project calls for building New York’s first purpose-built offshore wind staging and port facility, the company said. Equinor is aiming for first power in 2026.

“This is a promising new beginning for Empire Wind and we’re ready to get started,” said Molly Morris, president of Equinor Renewables America.

If regulatory approvals are met, a final investment decision (FID) reached and contract executed, Sunrise Wind is expected to be completed in 2026, Ørsted said. The company anticipates receiving final federal permits for the project this summer and taking FID in the second quarter.

“With today’s award at a bid price level reflecting the current component and financing costs, Sunrise Wind is well positioned to deliver clean energy to New York,” said David Hardy, executive vice president and CEO of Ørsted’s Americas region.

The two wind projects are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 3 million metric tons annually, New York regulators said, adding that’s equivalent to the emissions of more than 740,000 cars.