Wind energy is gaining more and more traction in the United States as the country moves towards cleaner, more sustainable energy sources. According to the American Clean Power Association, the US is home to over 70,000 wind turbines with a total capacity of almost 140 GW – enough to power over 43 million homes. And in 2021, the wind industry provided more than 120,000 jobs across the country. Still, wind energy only accounts for a quarter of the total energy production.
However, one piece of vital infrastructure could now contribute to an enormous boost for the industry: the Sunrise Wind transmission line.
Meeting a well-known challenge
The Sunrise Wind project is a proposed 924MW offshore wind farm located off the coast of Long Island, New York. The wind farm is expected to generate enough electricity to power nearly 600,000 homes, making it a significant contributor to New York’s clean energy goals. The project is a joint venture between Eversource Energy and Ørsted, two major players in the renewable energy industry with a wealth of experience in wind energy development. However, just like other offshore projects, this comes with the challenge of transporting the electricity generated by the wind turbines back to shore. For this reason, decision-makers agreed that the wind farm will be connected to the grid through a 25-mile offshore/onshore transmission line. Constructed and operated by the New York Power Authority, it will carry the electricity from the wind farm to an existing substation in Brookhaven, Suffolk County. Recently, it was approved by the New York State Public Service Commission.
Supporting local goals
The project is not only a significant contributor to renewable energy in the US, but it will also have a positive impact on the local and state economy. After signing an agreement with the state, Sunrise Wind will invest over 400 million USD in New York, with a commitment to work with minority- and women-owned businesses to ensure inclusivity and diversity in the developing offshore wind supply chain.
Moreover, the construction and operation of the wind farm will create at least 800 direct, as well as numerous indirect jobs in the state – ranging from monitoring wildlife and the seabed around the project to local businesses who provide goods and services within the vicinity of the operating ports. On top of that, the project committed to partly fund an offshore wind training center in Suffolk County in order to develop talent for the industry.
Most importantly, the project will relieve congestion on the existing grid and improve the reliability of the state’s electricity supply – and contribute to New York’s goal of ensuring at least 70 percent of its energy is produced via renewable sources by 2030.
The Sunrise Wind transmission line project has even inspired additional projects in the area: In November 2022, state regulators advanced four onshore wind farms, which will provide New York with 1.48 GW of renewable energy, along with the Sunrise Wind project. With these significant advancements, the state is quickly becoming a leader in the renewable energy transition, providing a blueprint for other states to follow in the pursuit of a more sustainable future.