Cuomo: State to seek 800 megawatts of offshore wind energy

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday said the state will seek solicitations for “at least” 800 megawatts of offshore wind power this year and next, following his call for 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind in the state by 2030.

The announcement, in the governor’s State of the State address, further asserts the state’s role in what is largely a federal offshore-wind energy program, while giving the administration a central role in negotiating wind-energy contracts, traditionally a utility role.

Norway-based Statoil, which has already begun plans for an offshore wind farm off the Long Beach coast that could produce 1,000 megawatts of wind power by 2024, said Wednesday it “will compete” in the state solicitation. The company’s Empire Wind division in 2016 won an auction for leasing about 71,000 acres off the South Shore.

Commercial fishing groups have opposed offshore wind projects, fearing loss of vital fishing grounds, while green-energy advocates say they will reduce global warming and spur a new green-energy economy.

Cuomo’s move could “attract investments in supply chain and other infrastructure development needed to serve this growing industry,” said Max Oppen, a spokesman for Environmental Advocates of New York.

It’s unclear how much of the planned state-solicited wind energy will be taken by LIPA, which in the past has said it could seek upwards of 400 megawatts of offshore wind in coming years.