Equinor supports huge renewable energy contract in US

Photographed in Norway, the office of energy company Equinor, on 6 February 2019.

Odin Jagger | 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 on Wednesday, the firm said it was the “largest” offshore wind deal awarded in the US – and also “one of the largest renewable energy purchases in the US to date.”

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

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

Last year, BP agreed to take a 5021 stake in the Empire Wind and Beacon Wind projects from Ecuador, to close in the early part of 2021.

The development of Empire Wind 2 and Beacon Wind 1 will have a capacity of 1,260 and 1,230 MW (MW). The contract announced on Wednesday will complement another agreement for energy from the 816 MW Empire Wind 1 project. Capacity refers to the maximum amount that an installation can produce, not the current it is producing.

When completely exhausted, Equinor states that the overall Empire Wind and Beacon Wind projects will each be capable of generating electricity on one million homes.

In a statement, Equinor CEO Anders Opdal 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. matches other parts of the world whenever it comes to scale.

The country’s first offshore wind farm – the 30-megawatt, five-turbine Block Island Wind Farm, operated by Danish company Orsted – began commercial operations only in late 2016.

By comparison, Europe is home to several huge offshore wind projects. Last November, Orsted announced that the 752 MW Borsele 1 and 2 offshore facility was fully up and running, claiming that it could provide power to 1 million homes.

The European Union said in plans laid at the end of last year that it wanted to hit its offshore wind capacity by 300 GW 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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