Statoil Christens NY Offshore Wind Project

Hywind Scotland substructures under fabrication at Navacel in Fene, Spain. Source: Eva Sleire/Statoil.

Statoil selected the name “Empire Wind” for its offshore wind site located off the southern coast of Long Island, New York. The 79,350-acre site, secured by Statoil in a US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) auction in December 2016, has the potential to generate up to 1 GW of offshore wind power. It will be constructed by private investors, and the company said investments for a 1-GW project are typically about $3 billion.

The name Empire Wind captures the pivotal role that this important project will play in helping New York achieve its ambitious renewable energy goal," said Statoil's Empire Wind Project Director Christer af Geijerstam. "Empire Wind also speaks to the leading role that New York State is taking in advancing the deployment of offshore wind technology in North America."

The company is in the early stages of developing the offshore wind farm with the potential to provide New York City and Long Island with a significant, long-term source of renewable electricity. The project team is currently conducting an extensive evaluation process, gathering detailed information about the seabed conditions, grid connection options, and wind resources characteristic to the area.

Statoil will submit a Site Assessment Plan to the BOEM, and site assessment and characterization studies and surveys are scheduled to start spring 2018. The results of these studies and surveys will provide the data necessary to compile a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) for the project. BOEM requires submission of a COP within 5 years. Statoil said Empire Wind can generate power as early as the mid-2020s.

New York's Clean Energy Standard mandates an increase in the share of renewables in its energy mix to 50% by 2030. As part of that effort, Governor Andrew Cuomo recently called for the development of up to 2.4 GW of offshore wind power by 2030.

Wind Portfolio Grows

Statoil currently has seven offshore wind projects online or under development in Europe, including the world's first floating offshore wind project, Hywind Scotland. The 30-MW installation, located 25 km from Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, began producing power in September, and started delivering electricity to the Scottish grid in mid-October. At peak capacity, the wind farm will produce enough electricity to power 20,000 homes. The company’s website characterizes this as a technology which could prove pivotal in generating offshore wind power for the US west coast and Hawaii.

The company's offshore wind portfolio has the capacity of providing more than 1 million European homes with renewable energy.

First Step into Solar

Statoil also recently announced its first solar investment in the 162-MW Apodi solar asset in Brazil. The company signed an agreement in October to acquire a 40% share in the construction-ready asset from Scatec Solar, a Norwegian independent solar power producer. The project will provide approximately 160,000 households with electricity. Statoil and Scatec Solar have also agreed on an exclusive cooperation to jointly develop potential future solar projects in Brazil.

Statoil will also acquire a 50% share in the project execution company, enabling it to participate in building and operating solar projects in the future.

“Brazil is a core area for Statoil where our ambition is to deliver safe and sustainable growth in a significant energy market. Entering into solar in Brazil adds to the positions we have already in the producing Peregrino oil field and in the offshore licenses BM-S-8 and BM-C-33 which include the yet to be developed discoveries Carcará and Pão de Açúcar, respectively. We are excited to have entered our first solar project with an experienced partner like Scatec Solar,” said Irene Rummelhoff, executive vice president of New Energy Solutions in Statoil.

Statoil will pay a combined acquisition price of $25 million for access to the Apodi solar asset and the project execution company. Construction of the solar plant was targeted to begin in October, aiming to deliver electricity from the end of 2018. Total project capex is estimated to $215 million. The Apodi asset will be funded 65% by project financing and 35% equity contribution, of which Statoil’s equity share will be approximately $30 million.

The Apodi asset, located in the municipality of Quixeré, Ceará State in Brazil, is fully permitted with grid connection. The asset holds a 20-year power purchase agreement awarded in 2015 at an auction organized by the Brazilian government.

The construction and operations phase for this project will be led by Scatec Solar with Statoil contributing with staff and services from Brazil as well as Norway.


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