New York State has issued a combined clean energy solicitation, seeking up to 4,000 MW of renewable energy capacity. The state’s second offshore wind solicitation seeks up to 2,500 MW of projects, in addition to last year’s solicitation which resulted in nearly 1,700 MW awarded.
The solicitation includes a multi-port strategy and requirement for offshore wind generators to partner with any of the 11 prequalified New York ports to stage, construct, manufacture key components or coordinate operations and maintenance activities. This solicitation has the potential to bring New York State halfway toward its goal of 9,000 MW of offshore wind by 2035 and meet Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s climate and environment goals under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Funding for port investments will include $400 million in both public and private funding.
“During one of the most challenging years New York has ever faced, we remain laser-focused on implementing our nation-leading climate plan and growing our clean energy economy, not only to bring significant economic benefits and jobs to the state, but to quickly attack climate change at its source by reducing our emissions,” Cuomo said. “With these record-breaking solicitations for renewable energy and new port infrastructure, New York continues to lead the way with the most ambitious Green New Deal in the nation, creating a future fueled by clean, renewable energy sources.”
In addition to the offshore wind solicitation, Cuomo also announced the issuance by NYSERDA and NYPA‘s coordinated solicitations for land-based large-scale renewable energy projects by a U.S. state, under the state’s Clean Energy Standard. Together, the combined solicitations from NYSERDA and NYPA seek to procure over 1,500 MW of clean, renewable energy, enough to power nearly 500,000 homes.
Applicable land-based projects selected will be fast-tracked to construction under legislation passed in the budget to accelerate renewable energy siting to ensure the projects are developed responsibly and quickly so the state meets its CLCPA mandate.
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the solicitations, combined with a competitive multi-port funding opportunity are expected to spur approximately $7 billion in direct investments and to create approximately 4,500 short and long-term jobs at applicable prevailing wages. The solicitations prioritize hiring in environmental justice areas and benefits to underserved communities in line with the state’s new climate law.
This announcement moves toward achieving New York State’s mandate to secure 70% of the state’s electricity from renewable energy by 2030.
In aggregate, the offshore wind, port infrastructure and land-based renewable trifecta of solicitations seek to procure approximately 12 million MWh, enough to power over 1.5 million homes annually. Together, taking into account the value of avoided carbon emissions, these solicitations are expected to deliver a combined $3 billion in net benefits over the 20- to 25-year life of the projects.
The clean energy industry has proven to be a strong economic driver, outpacing growth in the national workforce by nearly twice the rate pre-COVID and will have a pivotal role in creating short and long-term economic activity to help local economies rebound from the pandemic after reopening, NYSERDA stated in a press release.
The combined offshore wind and port solicitation mark an important next step in New York’s offshore wind program to build on the state’s first two offshore wind projects — Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind. The solicitation will accept bids that combine offshore wind generation projects with investments in New York ports to holistically support the state’s burgeoning offshore wind industry through an innovative public/private partnership.
Dozens of new large-scale renewable projects over the next decade are expected to result from the solicitation. New York has awarded 67 large scale renewable energy projects since 2018.
Offshore Wind and Port Infrastructure
Coordinated with a $200 million opportunity to support local and private investment in port infrastructure, NYSERDA will accept offshore wind bids between 400 MW and 2,500 MW. In addition to delivering a significant amount of clean, renewable energy to New Yorkers, this combined solicitation requests proposals for investment in port infrastructure. Notable provisions in this comprehensive solicitation include:
- Provisions requiring payment of the prevailing wage for workers associated with the construction of any awarded facility and continuing to prioritize opportunities for New York State Minority- and Woman-Owned Business Enterprises and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses to support these projects;
- Incentivizing associated jobs, project spending and infrastructure investments in New York State by requiring awardees to provide an economic benefits plan for evaluation, backed by independent audit and verification of the realization of these claims;
- Prioritizing low-income census tracts and “Environmental Justice Areas” to contribute to delivering the overall job creation and benefits to “Disadvantaged Communities,” consistent with the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act;
- Sending a clear buy-clean demand signal to the market to encourage the consideration of the project’s carbon footprint in design, sourcing and construction and spur use of advanced materials;
- Actively addressing the interests of ocean users such as commercial and recreational fishing and environmental stakeholders as reflected in mitigation plans which are informed by New York’s Offshore Wind Technical Working Groups as established by New York’s Offshore Wind Master Plan.
To support New York’s position as the hub for the offshore wind industry, NYSERDA, with the assistance of NY Green Bank, Empire State Development and the New York State Department of Transportation, will all support this combined solicitation for investing in and upgrading the state’s port infrastructure. The $400 million in private and public funding is comprised of:
- $100 million in Empire State Development grant funding
- $100 million in low-interest financing
- $200 million in private-sector matching funds, for a one-to-one public/private match
The state launched the first phase of the RFP process in October 2019, when it issued a request for qualifications that pre-qualified 11 proposers to participate in this competitive process, with the resulting proposals representing an unprecedented suite of projects, a strong indicator of market interest and opportunity.
The 11 prequalified sites are located from Long Island to the Capital Region. These sites, now eligible to partner with offshore wind developers for up to $200 million in public funding for direct use in advancing an offshore wind project and the long-term industry, have the potential to support various supply chain end uses such as staging, installation, manufacturing and operations and maintenance.
Under this competitive solicitation, New York State is offering funding support for specific types of capital infrastructure assets such as strengthened sub-surfaces or new shoreline protection structures, optimized to suit the development of port infrastructure for the offshore wind industry.
Funding will be offered in two categories:
- Grant funding: up to $100 million in grants will be issued on a reimbursement basis as critical project milestones are met.
- Debt financing: up to $100 million of senior secured debt financing will be issued as critical project milestones are met.
Bids for this combined offshore wind and ports solicitation are due October 20, 2020, and awards and contracts are expected to be executed Q4 of 2020, respectively.
To learn more about the large-scale renewables solicitations, please visit NYPA’s website or NYSERDA’s website. NYPA’s submissions are due by September 14th and NYSERDA’s by August 27. An informational webinar will be hosted by NYSERDA on August 4, 2020, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. to discuss the Build-Ready Program and this RFI.
News item from NYSERDA