During the third installment of his State of the State address, Governor Andrew Cuomo stated that we are beyond a debate about global warming, and rolled out a plan to transform New York State into a green economy powerhouse.

One element of his plan includes what the governor called "the largest offshore wind program in the nation."

According to Joe Martens, former DEC Commissioner and current director of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance, the governor’s description is accurate.

"These two projects are proposed by one company. Equinor, which is a Norwegian company, won a bid for offshore wind about a year ago, so this is the second solicitation that it’s won," Martens explained.

The bid is to build two projects that will produce 2,500 megawatts of electricity. 

"One of Equinor’s projects is 20 miles off the coast of Long Island, the other is off the coast of Massachusetts," Martens said.

When asked to translate how many houses 2,500 megawatts of offshore wind could power, Martens said, "It’s a lot of electricity. I don’t know exactly, Susan, but we’re probably talking about a million to a million and a half homeowners would be supplied electricity by these two projects."

The state is required by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) to get to 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035.  

According to Martens, "This, in combination with the awards the governor announced in 2019 the day he signed that law, will get us to almost halfway to that 9,000 megawatt standard."

No offshore wind projects are currently generating any energy in New York. 

Martens told Capital Tonight that the next step for Equinor is negotiating a contract with NYSERDA. After that the company will need to go through a federal permitting process, as well as a state process to get a transmission line.  

"All of that will take time," said Martens. "It will be 2025 or 2026 when these projects are actually built and delivering electricity to Long Island and New York City."

The cost to ratepayers is not yet known since Equinor’s contracts with NYSERDA haven’t been finalized. But, according to Martens, the cost of offshore wind will be amortized across the state in order to lower costs for individual ratepayers.

"Residential ratepayers across New York would be paying less than a dollar a month on their electric bills," he said. "These costs would be spread across the entire rate base of New York and that’s what keeps the costs very low."