The New York State Public Service Commission (NYSPSC) on Thursday rejected requests seeking an increase in contract prices for four offshore wind projects totalling about 4.2 GW of capacity and another 86 land-based renewables developments.
The petitions were filed by the developers of the Sunrise Wind, Empire Wind 1, Empire Wind 2 and Beacon Wind offshore wind projects. Empire and Beacon Wind, with an overall capacity of 3,306 MW, are being developed by Equinor ASA (NYSE:EQNR) and BP Plc (LON:BP), while the 924-MW Sunrise Wind project is a joint venture of Ørsted A/S (CPH:ORSTED) and Eversource Energy (NYSE:ES).
Trade association the Alliance for Clean Energy New York Inc (ACENY) submitted the petition on behalf of the land-based projects. The parties asked for adjustments to their agreements signed with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to address inflationary pressures. For the offshore wind portfolio, the weighted average price increase requested was 48%.
NYSPSC said that in denying financial relief, it chose to preserve the competitive bidding process.
“The requested amendments to the contracts would have provided adjustments outside of the competitive procurement process; such relief is fundamentally inconsistent with long-standing Commission policy,” commented Commission chair Rory M Christian.
Following the decision, NYSERDA said it will act fast to continue advancement of large-scale renewable energy projects toward meeting New York’s climate goals. “NYSERDA will assess impacts on the contracted portfolio, and with input from the Department of Public Service and the renewable energy industry, proceed swiftly with an accelerated procurement process that prioritises competition, simplifies bid requirements, incorporates inflation indexing, all while coordinating with transmission planning initiatives,” its president and chief executive Doreen M Harris said.
This stance is included in the 10-Point Action Plan simultaneously launched by New York to support the large-scale renewable energy industry in the state. One of the plan’s points is “NYSERDA will launch an accelerated renewable energy procurement process for both offshore and onshore renewable energy projects, aiming to backfill any contracted projects which are terminated.” The plan can be seen on NYSERDA’s website.
In addition, NYSERDA, which has concluded its current offshore wind and land-based renewables procurements, will make award announcements in the near future, said Doreen M Harris.
The American Clean Power Association (ACP) was critical of NYSPSC’s decision to deny adjustments. “With one shortsighted decision, the NYSPSC has thrown New York’s environmental and clean energy future into peril,” said ACP chief executive Jason Grumet.