The Empire Wind offshore wind farm will be equipped with 138 Vestas V236-15MW offshore wind turbines. Credit: Empire Wind.
The project will be located off the coast of Long Island, New York. Credit: Empire Wind.
The SBMT will be developed as the operations and maintenance hub for the project. Credit: Empire Wind.

The Empire Wind offshore wind farm is being developed off the coast of New York, US, by the Norwegian energy company, Equinor.

The initiative is set for execution in two stages. Empire Wind 1 (EW1) will boast a generation capacity of 816MW, while Empire Wind 2 (EW2) will have a capacity of 1.26GW, culminating in a combined output of approximately 2.1GW.

The New York Public Service Commission conferred the Article VII Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need to the project in December 2023.

A final investment decision for the project is expected by mid-2024, with the initial power from EW1 projected to be harnessed in 2026.

The project is anticipated to generate sufficient power to supply up to a million households in New York.

Project location

The Empire Wind offshore wind farm will be located approximately 24km to 48km south-east of Long Island, spanning an area of 80,000 acres. The lease for the site was secured in 2017.

The water depth at the site ranges between 23m and 41m.

Empire Wind farm development details

The Empire Wind offshore wind farm was previously developed by Empire Offshore Wind Holdings, a joint venture between Equinor and BP.

In January 2024, an agreement was signed with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to terminate the Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Certificate (OREC) agreement for the EW 2 project.

The decision was taken considering the change in commercial conditions, which made the existing OREC agreement unviable.

The project’s second phase will proceed with development, in anticipation of forthcoming new offtake prospects.

Equinor took full ownership of the project through a swap transaction with bp during the same month.

Under the transaction, Equinor takes full ownership of the Empire Wind lease and projects and bp takes full ownership of the Beacon Wind lease and projects.

The federal Construction and Operations Plan for the project was approved by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in February 2024.

Empire Wind offshore wind farm details

The Empire Wind offshore wind farm will feature 138 Vestas V236-15MW offshore wind turbines, mounted on monopile foundations.

Each turbine will have a rotor diameter of 235.9m and a tip height of 270m.

The proposal includes two offshore substations, with up to 214km and 267km of interarray cables for EW1 and EW2, respectively. Additionally, the project will consist of up to 122km of submarine export cables.

The onshore components of the project will encompass up to three export cable landfall areas in New York including one for EW1 and up to two for EW2.

In addition, two onshore substations are planned to be located at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT).

South Brooklyn Marine Terminal

Located in Sunset Park, the 73-acre South Brooklyn Marine Terminal is poised to evolve into one of the largest dedicated offshore wind port facilities in the US.

It will support the staging and assembly of offshore wind turbine components for Empire Wind and the burgeoning offshore wind industry on the East Coast.

The SBMT will act as the operations and maintenance hub for Empire Wind 1 and will house the project’s onshore substation.

It will feature a low-emissions facility, complete with solar power and electric vehicle charging stations.

The terminal will provide onshore power and charging for the Empire Wind Service Operations Vessel (SOV), the inaugural plug-in hybrid vessel for the US offshore wind sector.

Grid connection and power purchase agreement

In March 2024, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) sanctioned the Large Generator Interconnection Agreement between EW 1, New York ISO, and the Consolidated Edison Company of New York.

The approval is a milestone, marking the first FERC sanction for any offshore wind project to integrate directly into the New York City transmission system.

The EW 1 offshore wind project will connect through the Sunset Park onshore substation at SBMT into the New York City electrical grid at Con Edison’s Gowanus substation, under the terms of approval.

In June 2024, Equinor announced the finalisation of a purchase and sale agreement with the NYSERDA to supply the renewable energy produced by the EW 1 project.

Contractors involved

Nexans, a cable and connectivity solutions provider, was awarded a turnkey contract for the design, manufacturing, laying and protection of export cables for the project’s first phase in October 2022.

A decade-long service operations vessel charter agreement was sealed in May 2022 with the US marine transportation company, Edison Chouest Offshore, to provide the Empire Wind SOV.

The US-flagged vessel will be homeported at SBMT and accommodate up to 60 wind turbine technicians. It will be employed for the safe and efficient operations and maintenance of the EW 1 and EW 2 offshore wind farms.

Maersk Supply Service secured a contract to charter its new-build Wind Installation Vessel in March 2022.

The vessel will be supported by two newly constructed tugs and barges, tasked with transporting wind turbine components from SBMT to the Empire Wind lease area.

Kirby Offshore Wind, a subsidiary of Kirby, the largest tank barge operator in the US, will build and operate the barges and tugs.

A consortium of GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions and BOND Civil & Utility Construction was awarded the engineering, procurement and construction contract to deliver a cutting-edge digital onshore substation for EW 1 in March 2022.

COWI, a consulting company, was awarded the turnkey design contract for the wind turbine foundations in 2022.

Vestas was chosen as the preferred wind turbine supplier for the project in October 2021.

Aker Solutions, a renewable energy solutions enterprise, was awarded the front-end engineering and design contract for the project in February 2021.

The scope of work involved studying the design and delivery of concrete foundations for wind turbine generators.