New York signs first offshore wind contract; Enel signs deals for 3.5 GW US capacity

Wind power news you need to know.

New York State approves first offshore project

The New York State government has approved Deepwater Wind's 90 MW South Fork offshore wind farm project, paving the way for the first offshore project in the state.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced January 25 the Board of Trustees of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) approved a 20-year 'pay for performance' power purchase agreement (PPA) for the South Fork project.

This agreement allows the utility to only pay for delivered energy "without taking construction or operating risk," the Governor's office said.

"Advancing technology and innovation reduced the projects all-in wind energy price to be competitive with other renewable energy sources," it said.

The South Fork project represents the first step in the development of an offshore area that could host 1 GW of capacity. The site is situated 30 miles south-east of Montauk and the 90 MW wind farm will provide power to Long Island, where power demand is on the rise.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is currently developing an Offshore Wind Master Plan which will outline the state’s commitment to developing cost-effective offshore wind resources in federal waters off the coast of New York.

"The Master Plan, to be released in late 2017, will show how additional New York coastal sites may be developed responsibly and will set capacity targets and commercial operation dates for each site," the Governor's office said.

Enel signs US turbine deals to double installed capacity

Enel Green Power North America (EGPNA) has signed master supply agreements with three separate wind turbine manufacturers to support the development of 3.5 GW of new U.S. wind capacity, the company announced January 17.

EGNPA currently operates 2.4 GW of U.S. wind capacity and is present in 23 U.S. states.

“Through these agreements we will continue our strategy to grow in wind and invest in the US, seeking to nearly double our operating capacity over the next four years,” said Rafael Gonzalez, Head of EGNPA.

The Italian-owned group expects to install 900 MW of U.S. wind and solar capacity in 2017, including 200 MW of Cimarron Bend, the company’s largest wind project in the world.

EGPNA also expects to complete in 2017 the 300 MW Rock Creek wind project in Missouri and the 150 MW Lindahl wind project in North Dakota, it said.

US wind employment climbs above 100,000

The U.S. wind power sector now employs over 100,000 workers, up from an estimated 88,000 workers at the end of 2015, according to figures published by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) January 13.

The wind power sector employs more workers than the nuclear, natural gas, coal or hydrogen power plant sectors, the data shows.

Texas hosts around a quarter of the nation's wind power workers and manufacturing facility expansions in Colorado, Florida, Texas, and Wisconsin helped raise employment levels over the last year, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

“The Department of Energy’s new jobs data underscore the incredible impact of wind power in creating American jobs. Wind workers directly contribute to our nation’s energy independence and economic success story," said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA.

Wind Energy Update